The Pew Charitable Trusts “Clean Energy Economy Report“ found that in 2007 South Carolina reported 884 cleantech businesses that provided a total of 11,255 green jobs. Over the decade 1998-2007 employment in the South Carolina cleantech sector grew by 36.2% compared with a 2.2% growth in overall employment for the state over the same period.
Renewable Energy Jobs in South Carolina
In 2009 there were 10 renewable energy companies in South Carolina, and 1,129 people were directly or indirectly employed by the state’s renewable energy sector.
South Carolina is well positioned to tap into the growing $9 billion annual wind power market and has the potential to become an important wind services and manufacturing center as well as an important producer of offshore wind energy in its own right. The state has Outstanding port facilities and rail network; existing large scale ship rebuilding facilities (an important consideration for offshore wind development and servicing); low cost manufacturing and a business friendly environment; important wind energy research institutions; and local suppliers of steel and other needed inputs. South Carolina has excellent offshore wind potential, with very large high energy density wind resources situated close to its growing coastal demand centers, and that are located in shallow waters that lie near existing deep water port facilities. To give an idea how big this potential supply is, the state has the potential to supply more than twice its current electric energy supply from its shallow water offshore wind energy resources. The Offshore Wind Power An Opportunity for South Carolina study, authored by Dr. Rigas, Director Renewable Energy (CURI), at the Cremson University Restoration Institute has estimated that 10,000 to 20,000 new wind energy related jobs will be created in South Carolina by 2020 if the nation pursues a goal of 20% of its energy from the wind by 2020.
At least 13 facilities in South Carolina currently manufacture components for the wind energy industry and one more is announced. GE manufacture’s its biggest selling wind turbine in South Carolina in its Greenville facility, which also serves as GE’s center for its wind engineering team. Other large companies with significant wind business, such as Kaydon Bearings and PPG Industries, also have facilities in the state. In addition in the largest research grant in the university’s 120-year history, Clemson University, SC has been awarded almost $100M to for a major new facility for wind turbine drive train testing to be built at Restoration Institute campus at the former Navy base in Charleston.
South Carolina is home to three biodiesel plants and one pilot bio-oil plant. Plans for three bioethanol plants have been announced, ranging from a 0.1 mGy cellulosic ethanol pilot plant to a 109 mGy corn-based fuel ethanol plant. South Carolina generates biomass power through landfill gas power, gasification, and incineration.
A thin film solar manufacturer has announced plans to build a facility in Richland County, which would create 1,000 jobs over the next four years. The facility will begin producing CIGS solar cells by the beginning of 2012 and grow to 1 GW in annual capacity by 2015.
Energy Efficiency Jobs in South Carolina
South Carolina has big energy efficiency potential and according to the South Carolina’s Energy Future report (of 2009) implementing energy efficiency policies will not only save a lot of money and energy but will also lead to the creation of 22,000 new green jobs in the state by 2025, including many well paying skilled and professional jobs.The report also estimates that by 2025 the cumulative savings on electric bills will top $5 billion, which is a lot of extra money that will be available to flow in the states economy. It remains ot be seen whether or not the state will take the lead and begin promoting higher energy efficiency standards; currently South Carolina ranks close to the bottom — in 40th place — in ACEEE ‘s 2010 ranking of state’s according to their energy efficiency achievements.
Environmental Jobs in South Carolina
A new Ceres report finds that implementing two new air pollution rules proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will create 1.5 million jobs over the next five years. The power sector will invest almost $200 billion total in capital improvements over the next five years. Among the states that will see the big job gains from this construction activity are South Carolina. The Ceres report estimates that more than 50,000 new environmental remediation and pollution control related jobs will be created in South Carolina as a result of these environmental standards.