The Missouri Economic Research and Information Center recently conducted a survey of state businesses and found that the state currently has 130,000 people employed in green economy jobs and that there is a lot of potential for growth in the future as the general economy recovers.
by Chris de Morsella, Green Economy Post
The Missouri Economic Research and Information Center recently conducted a survey of state businesses, the Green Jobs Report that found that nearly five percent of the state’s total employment, or more than 130,000 job positions, are now part of the green economy sectors. These numbers are also expected to rapidly grow as soon as the general economy begins to recover.
The study estimated the number of green jobs in the Missouri economy via an employer
Survey and was conducted in the third quarter of 2009 by the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center, the research arm of the Missouri Department of Economic Development. It constitutes the first effort in the state to survey employers to measure the number of Missouri green jobs.
The Survey’s Findings
Missouri now has 131,103 total green jobs counting both primary and support
Positions. There are 28,720 primary green jobs and 102,383 green supporting jobs.
Around 71% of employers surveyed stated that current economic conditions were the largest barrier toward hiring additional green workers. A finding that highlights the potential for growth in Missouri’s green economy as the general economy begins to recover.
Almost 80% of employers in the survey use in-house classrooms or on-the-job training to train workers in green jobs and indicated that the top three skill sets needed for future green workers are waste minimization, pollution reduction control, and energy conservation.
The survey covered employment for 160 detailed occupations finding that the largest share of primary green employment includes: refuse and recyclable material collectors, chemical technicians, plumbers, refrigeration mechanics and installers, and architects.
Primary green occupations with the most opportunity for growth were: construction managers, environmental engineering technicians, operating engineers, electricians, environmental engineers, and pipe layers.
How Green Jobs and Green Economy Were Defined
How does one define Green Job or Green Economy? While there is no official definition a green job can be thought of as one that directly or indirectly creates a positive impact on the environment. The survey’s findings were based on Missouri’s definition of green jobs as those directly involved in generating or supporting a firm’s green-related products or services. The state’s green economy is defined as being comprised of industries that provide green products or services in six areas: Energy, Manufacturing, Building, Farming, Salvage/Remediation, and Government.
The Green Economy is defined as those industries and economic activities that contribute to at least one of the following:
Energy efficiency – such as: manufacturing of hybrid vehicles, energy-efficient appliances, green-building projects and energy efficiency remediation of existing buildings.
Renewable energy – such as: wind energy, solar energy, and biomass energy.
Organic food production – that is production of food that adheres to the USDA definition of organic foods production.
Jobs related to the reduction of industrial emissions, including global warming, jobs involved in recycling, and jobs related to wastewater treatment.
Jobs related to the remediation of hazardous sites.
Research and development devoted to supporting these areas.
The Six Clusters of Missouri’s Green Economy
The study found that the green economy in Missouri is comprised principally of industries that can be grouped into the following six broad clusters: Energy production, building, manufacturing, salvage/remediation, public administration and farming.
Renewable Energy Production
New renewable energy initiatives are expected to drive green energy production and purchasing well beyond existing capacity creating jobs in Wind, Solar, Hydro-Electric, Bio-Mass, and Bio-fuel energy production. Currently Missouri gets 82% of its electric power from coal and less than 2% from renewable sources (and most of this small portion is from traditional hydro power).
However this dirty coal energy mix is going to change. Missouri’s citizens have approved the Missouri Clean Energy Initiative that mandates that the state’s investor-owned utilities get 15% of their electricity from clean, renewable energy sources by 2021. Renewable energy content requirements in this initiative will be gradually phased-in beginning with a 2 percent renewable requirement in 2011, 5 percent in 2014, 10 percent in 2018, and no less than 15 percent in 2021 and thereafter.
The Missouri Clean Energy Initiative also requires utilities to offer their customers a rebate of $2 per watt (of installed rated capacity) for customer-owned solar power systems, up to a limit of $50,000, which would be the rebate available for a 25kw solar PV system. This mandated rebate should help encourage the spread of rooftop solar photovoltaic systems around the state.
Green Building and Energy Efficiency Retrofits
Retrofitting existing building’s to improve their energy efficiency and promoting the building of new buildings to LEED standards promises large and continuing savings both in on-going energy costs and in the long term cost savings provided by green building products and designs. This will continue to appeal to consumers and industry alike. Missouri has the opportunity now to transition its construction related workforce over to a profitable industry which may one day completely replace traditional building practices with green building ones.
Green building jobs usually require an additional certification for higher level occupations, such as architects, estimators and engineers. Those involved directly with construction and design would benefit from the LEED accreditation. Missouri currently has over 1,300 certified LEED professionals and will need many more in order to meet the challenges of transforming its building sector into one that is constructing sustainable buildings and upgrading existing structures to meet higher energy efficiency, water usage, environmental and other standards.
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Sustainable Technology and Manufacturing
Green Manufacturing is the research, development, and production of materials, parts, and final products within the following categories: energy efficiency, water reuse and efficiency, environmental health, renewable energy, and environmental safety. The research, development, and manufacture of green technology products is potentially the most fundamental drivers of green job creation in Missouri. The potential global demand for this sector’s exports is staggering. Growing and holding onto entrepreneurship and advanced research within these technology categories is of critical importance for the state.
The supply chain of green energy, building, and manufacturing products relies on the efficient processing and re-cycling of what are traditionally treated as waste materials. The recovery, distribution, and sale of recycled raw materials creates jobs integral to the green economy and the removal of hazardous materials and remediation of building sites is also important to sustaining our existing communities and improving the quality of life.
The administration of federal, state, and local green initiatives creates jobs at all levels of government. Conservation, regulation, certification, incentives, and economic development are major areas of interest in the public governing and utilities sector.
Sustainable Farming and Biofuels
Green Farming falls into the following classifications: organic/free range food production, forest preservation and renewable energy resource production. The production of biofuels especially non food and more efficient cellulosic bio-fuel crop sources will expand the available production acreage in Missouri and create new farming jobs. In addition, the number of organic farms is on the rise in Missouri. Smaller lots – often close to urban centers — can support niche organic heirloom crops and also add to production acreage in the state resulting in new sources of income to Missourians. Green forestry certification provides another opportunity to brand the state as green friendly and be included in the LEED approved wood products supply chain.
This study gives a good picture of the current green job and green economy state in Missouri and provides a pretty good idea of where the states administrators hope to see it go in the near future.
© 2009 – 2010, Chris de Morsella. All rights reserved. Do not republish.