Green Jobs Outpace Overall Economy Growth
Green Goods and Services Jobs (“GGS jobs”) in the US in 2010 amounted to 3.1 million, according to the green jobs report from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS). Those jobs are defined as those which “benefit the environment or conserve natural resources” in either their process or output.
In analyzing the BLS' report along with other reports on employment, the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) released a study October 10, 2012 that suggested that green industries have shown faster job growth than the overall economy. According to the findings, “for every percentage-point increase in an industry's green intensity (the share of employment in green jobs), annual employment growth was 0.034 percentage points higher,” and states with higher “green intensity” have survived economic turmoil better than those without it. That trend is expected to continue over the next decade.
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The study also notes that green jobs are still accessible to workers without a college degree. Only a one percent increase in green intensity in a given industry corresponded with a 0.28 percent “increase in the share of jobs in that industry held by workers without a four-year college degree.”
To reiterate the point of this article: "Everything good for the environment is a job,” Van Jones, an Author and Former Special Advisor for green jobs on the Obama administration told the Huffington Post. “People could be put back to work by building a green economy with solar panels, wind turbines and retrofitting homes as a start."
Major move forward for UK’s nascent marine energy sector
Although the industry is small and the technologies are limited, marine-based energy systems look to be taking off as “the world’s most powerful tidal turbine” begins grid-connected power generation at the European Marine Energy Centre.
At around 74 metres long, the turbine single-handedly holds the potential to supply the annual electricity demand to approximately 2,000 homes within the UK and offset 2,200 tonnes of CO2 per year.
Orbital Marine Power, a privately held Scottish-based company, announced the turbine is set to operate for around 15 years in the waters surrounding Orkney, Scotland, where the 2-megawatt O2 turbine weighing around 680 metric tons will be linked to a local on-land electricity network via a subsea cable.
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Described as a “major milestone for O2” by CEO of Orbital Marine Power Andrew Scott, the turbine will also supply additional power to generate ‘green hydrogen’ through the use of a land-based electrolyser in the hopes it will demonstrate the “decarbonisation of wider energy requirements.”
“Our vision is that this project is the trigger to the harnessing of tidal stream resources around the world to play a role in tackling climate change whilst creating a new, low-carbon industrial sector,” says Scott in a statement.
The Scottish Government has awarded £3.4 million through the Saltire Tidal Energy Challenge Fund to support the project’s construction, while public lenders also contributed to the financial requirements of the tidal turbine through the ethical investment platform Abundance Investment.
“The deployment of Orbital Marine Power’s O2, the world’s most powerful tidal turbine, is a proud moment for Scotland and a significant milestone in our journey to net zero,” says Michael Matheson, the Cabinet Secretary for Net-Zero, Energy and Transport for the Scottish Government.
“With our abundant natural resources, expertise and ambition, Scotland is ideally placed to harness the enormous global market for marine energy whilst helping deliver a net-zero economy.
“That’s why the Scottish Government has consistently supported the marine energy sector for over 10 years.”
However, Orbital Marine CEO Scott believes there’s potential to commercialise the technology being used in the project with the prospect of working towards more efficient and advanced marine energy projects in the future.
“We believe pioneering our vision in the UK can deliver on a broad spectrum of political initiatives across net-zero, levelling up and building back better at the same time as demonstrating global leadership in the area of low carbon innovation that is essential to creating a more sustainable future for the generations to come.”
The UK’s growing marine energy endeavours
This latest tidal turbine project isn’t a first for marine energy in the UK. The Port of London Authority permitted the River Thames to become a temporary home for trials into tidal energy technology and, more recently, a research project spanning the course of a year is set to focus on the potential tidal, wave, and floating wind technology holds for the future efficiency of renewable energy. The research is due to take place off of the Southwest coast of England on the Isles of Scilly