New Jobs in the Clean Energy Economy

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Michaele Schreyer and Arne Jungjohann


New Jobs in the Clean Energy Economy -- Smart Policies for Tapping a Big Potential

On March 24, the Climate Network convened the first 2010 briefing of its Congressional Climate Series, discussing how smart policies and private investments can build-up a clean energy economy and jumpstart immediate job creation in the US.

With an unemployment rate of more than 9%, there is no doubt about the need for broad job creation and sound economic recovery. One of the sectors with the strongest potential for new jobs is the clean energy sector. The production, installation and maintenance of solar, wind and biomass power, and the generation and distribution of renewable energy power have the potential to create 5 million well-paying jobs by 2020.

Michaele Schreyer, former EU Commissioner and current Member of the Heinrich-Boell-Stiftung’s Supervisory Board, surprised the audience with a stunning fact from the European Union. In 2009, in the middle of the economic crisis, jobs in the renewable energy sector grew by 8% thanks to European policies that encourage investments in the sector. This tendency could even grow stronger, if Europe decided to enact a European Community for Renewable Energies (ERENE), Schreyer said.

Kate Gordon from the Center for American Progress introduced the think tank’s  recent report “Out of the Running? How Germany, Spain, and China Are Seizing the Energy Opportunity and Why the United States Risks Getting Left Behind”. In order to incite the creation of new jobs in the clean energy economy, it is essential to provide companies with a framework of consistent demand, long term standards and sustainable financing, said Gordon.

Michael Peck, Director for external relations of the Spanish windmill manufacturer Gamesa, shared business insights from the company’s 820-worker plant in the US state of Pennsylvania. Peck emphasized the company’s success in cooperating with the United Steel Workers Union. Together both are tapping into the regions manufacturing tradition, a process that facilitates the construction and deployment of renewable energy sources in the region.

“This transformation of manufacturing jobs has the potential to become a new role model,” said Peck. “It brings new value and authenticity to the traditional labor skills.”

Michaele Schreyer, Member of the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung's Supervisory Board, former EU Commissioner
Kate Gordon, Vice President for Energy Policy, Center for American Progress
Michael Peck, Director for external relations, Gamesa
Arne Jungjohann, Program Director Environment, Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung (moderator)

For more information, please contact Mr. Till Kötter at

This briefing has been supported by the European Commission. The EC is not ressponsible for the content.