California and clean-tech jobs

Pew is out with a study measuring clean-energy jobs, businesses, patents and venture capital investments by state, and California ranks first on all fronts.  The study also concludes that the number of jobs in America’s emerging clean energy economy grew nearly two and a half times faster than overall jobs between 1998 and 2007.

While California’s number 1 ranking isn’t all that surprising given the state’s size and economic mix, it’s a sign that we’re doing at least some things right to attract and retain clean businesses and investments.  I attended a meeting yesterday in which California was derided as the BANANA state — standing for “build absolutely nothing anywhere near anything,” and referring to the state’s reputation for being unfriendly to new business growth.  One of the messages of the meeting was that the city of Los Angeles, in particular, could and should do a much better job wooing clean tech businesses.  This work has begun already, with the high-profile formation of a Clean Tech LA partnership among UCLA, USC, CalTech, the Mayor’s office, and city business groups, and the related designation of a portion of downtown LA as a new “CleanTech manufacturing center.”  The Pew report should give this work a boost.

It will undoubtedly also be helpful to those pushing the green jobs – climate change connection (think Obama, Van Jones, and the California Air Resources Board).  The report itself states that

[p]olicies intended to advance the clean energy economy—from comprehensive energy plans, renewable energy standards and energy efficiency measures to the development of alternative fuels, job retraining and waste reduction efforts . . . have great potential because they create significant incentives for both the private and public sectors to develop new technologies, infrastructure and processes for clean energy, efficiency and conservation.

How is Pew defining the clean-energyeconomy?  It “counted actual jobs, companies and investments in every state and the District of Columbia aimed at developing clean, renewable sources of energy, increasing energy efficiency, reducing greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming, and conserving water and other natural resources.”  More detail on which types of jobs made the list, and which didn’t, is at the report’s Appendix A (at p. 46 of the PDF linked above). 

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Reader Comments

2 Replies to “California and clean-tech jobs”

  1. Several years ago I worked on a cogeneration power plant development project in California. We withdrew from California because the regulatory system was impossible to reconcile and negotiate. Many of the state and local government regulatory personnel considered it their appointed duty to obstruct and discourage any project that would have any conceivable environmental impact (this may be how California created its so-called “clean energy economy”).

    As a result of the “clean energy economy” the citizens of California must pay high prices to buy electricity from other states because California does not have enough power plant capacity to meet its demand.

    Most business people know that California is a terrible place for developing new business ventures and avoid this state.

  2. maybe your project didn’t merit approval? cause that other thing, the thing about regulators’ appointed duty to obstruct and discourage is how someone who’s project couldn’t get approval would see it. Maybe now with some distance you can see it is their job to discourage bad projects; well bad projects for california– they might have been great projects for you.

    I have heard people complaining about how california is a bad place to locate a business since i came here 15 years ago. And yet, every 5 years california’s economy is bigger, it has more jobs, and mroe companies want to move there than 5 years ago. this belief is just demonstrably not true. Maybe you want to leave?

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About Cara

Cara Horowitz

Cara Horowitz is the co-executive director of the Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at UCLA School of Law. The Emmett Institute was founded as the f…

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