Tennessee has a very large potential to create new environmental remediation and management jobs as a result of new EPA regulations. In addition to these types of green jobs the state is attracting major wind manufacturers and is home to a world class research and development of bioenergy and other clean technologies in the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
The Pew Charitable Trusts “Clean Energy Economy Report“ found that in 2007 Tennessee reported 1,090 cleantech businesses that provided a total of 15,507 green jobs. Over the decade 1998-2007 employment in the Tennessee cleantech sector grew by 18.2% compared with a 2.5% growth in overall employment for the state over the same period. Over the two year period (2006-2008) Tennessee saw around $16 million of venture capital invested in its cleantech sector.
Environmental Jobs in Tennessee
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 biggest job gains from this construction activity are Tennessee. The Ceres report estimates that 113,138 new environmental remediation and pollution control related jobs will be created in Tennessee as a result of these environmental standards.
Renewable Energy Jobs in Tennessee
In 2009 Tennessee had 29 renewable energy companies, and the states renewable energy sector provided 1,907 direct and indirect green jobs. The Oak Ridge National Laboratory, located in Tennessee, is a world class authority on the research and development of bioenergy and other clean technologies.
Tennessee is home to a major wind tower manufacturer, SIAG Aerisyn in Chattanooga. At least seven facilities in Tennessee currently produce components for the wind energy industry.
The state’s planned solar power manufacturing activities include: a $200 million solar ingot manufacturing plant under development in Clinton, which will provide 250 full time jobs when complete; a $1.2 billion polysilicon manufacturing mega-facility in Clarksville, to open in 2012 and provide 500 full time jobs; and a $1 billion polycrystalline manufacturing facility under development in Charleston.
Tennessee recently opened one of the country’s few cellulosic ethanol demonstration facilities in Vonore.
The US hydropower industry currently employs up to 300,000 workers, from project development to manufacturing to facilities operations and maintenance. Under the current weak renewable energy standard already in place, jobs will increase to 480,000 by 2025 mostly in the West and Tennessee. Tennessee is one of the most important hydro power states in the country. The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) is one of the nation’s biggest producers of hydroelectric power. It maintains 29 conventional hydroelectric dams throughout the Tennessee River system and one pumped-storage facility for the production of electricity.