The production of waste, especially with many countries emerging into powerful economies, has become a problem of such dimensions that something definite has to be done.Many new technologies are being developed to process, recycle and reuse waste, some combining waste treatment processes in the same plant to produce a variety of useful products such as electrical energy, diesel, heat, carbon black and other recyclable materials. Latest estimates show that there are 431 waste-to-energy (WTE) plants in Europe and 89 in the United States (2004). The U.S. recycles 14 percent of its trash in WTE plants.
The clean energy sector is entering a phase of dramatic change in which business models are being transformed against a backdrop of regulatory uncertainty, as the industry emerges from a challenging period caused by the global economic downtown. Technologies and business structures that were once abandoned, are now being revived in several key sectors.
The RES Alliance for Jobs, a coalition of America’s renewable energy companies and national renewable energy associations, has released a new study showing that a 25% by 2025 national Renewable Electricity Standard would create hundreds of thousands of new jobs in the United States. The “Jobs Impact of a National Renewable Electricity Standard” study found that a 25% by 2025 national RES would result in 274,000 more renewable energy jobs over no-national RES policy. This additional employment is equivalent to 2.36 million additional job-years by 2025. The study found that new jobs would be supported by renewable energy in every region of the United States. While the biomass, hydropower and waste-to-energy industries would see significant job gains in the Southeast, the states of the Great Plains and Midwest would employ thousands developing their wind resources and the Western United States would see job gains in its solar and hydropower industries. Without stronger near-term targets than currently envisioned, the study found that industries like wind will experience flat job growth and long-term stagnation, while the U.S. biomass industry could collapse altogether. The Alliance recommends that aggressive near and long-term federal RES targets should be pursued in order to attract manufacturing investment in the sector and to ensure global competitiveness of the U.S. renewable energy industry.