Sequestration Cuts Important Green Jobs Reporting
“Green jobs” outpaced the job growth at a rate four times faster than all other industries combined in the US from 2010-2011, according to a report released Tuesday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics that breaks down employment in green goods and services through 2011—the last report of its kind the public can expect to see for a while...
Green jobs are defined by the BLS as jobs “that benefit the environment or conserve natural resources,” or job functions that involve “making their establishment's production processes more environmentally friendly or use fewer natural resources.”
Within the year, green jobs accounted for 2.6 percent of all jobs in the economy, or over 3.4 million jobs. Construction saw an employment increase from 7 to 8.9 percent (over 100,000 jobs), and green jobs in the federal government increased by 0.5 percent (nearly 5,000 jobs).
Although the trends in green jobs growth are expected to continue, recent budget cuts have forced the BLS to discontinue measuring their growth under the sequestration—an effort the Republican Party seems to think is just “BS” anyway.
“It’s a huge loss,” Bracken Hendricks, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, told Bloomberg. “This means the U.S. will be flying blind on the growth of a very, very important sector in the U.S. Economy.”
A blow to green activists, reliant on BLS' green jobs reporting as another means of pushing their efforts, Republicans continue to express their cynicism.
“This was never a real report, but rather propaganda designed to advance a misleading political narrative,” Republican Representative of California Darrel Issa said in an e-mailed statement to Bloomberg. “From its inception it was an abuse of taxpayer dollars and it’s unfortunate it took the sequester to make the Administration realize it.”
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.
How optimistic is the outlook for the UK’s turbine bid?
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