Clean energy, or “green,” jobs grew in Georgia over a 10-year period to more than 16,000, according to from the Pew Charitable Trusts.
, Pew said alternative energy jobs grew across the state 15.7 percent to 16,222 at 1,827 businesses.
Nationally, Pew found that some 770,000 jobs at 68,200 businesses were related to the “clean tech economy.” Over the 10-year period, green jobs grew at 9.1 percent compared to an overall job creation rate of 3.7 percent.
According to Pew, the study is the first to track clean tech jobs across all 50 states.
The 50-state average per state was 15,106 clean tech jobs.
In Georgia, overall job growth was 10.8 percent.
Pew also said the conventional fossil fuel sector employed 1.27 million people in 2007.
With more consumer demand, federal and state legislation and investments from venture capital, Pew projected more growth in the future. For example, in North Carolina, utility companies are mandated to increase use of renewable fuels in power generation.
“The clean energy economy is poised for explosive growth,” said Lori Grange, interim deputy director of the Pew Center on the States. “These jobs are driving economic growth and environmental sustainability at a time when America needs both. There is a potential competitive advantage for federal and state policy leaders who act now to spur jobs, businesses and investments in the clean energy sector.”
Pew defined the clean energy economy as one that “generates jobs, businesses and investments while expanding clean energy production, increasing energy efficiency, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, waste and pollution, and conserving water and other natural resources.”
It defined five categories:
• Clean Energy
• Energy Efficiency
• Environmentally Friendly Production
• Conservation and Pollution Mitigation
• Training and Support
According to pew figures, venture capital funding for clean technology soared 48 percent to $5.9 billion in 2008. A new survey from the National Venture Capital Association and Deloitte Touche on Wednesday also reported that clean tech is by far the hottest sectors for future investments with 63 percent of the global VCs surveyed predicting an increase over the next three years.
Other factors driving clean tech job growth, according to Pew:
• States will receive a major infusion of federal funds through the recently enacted American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which allocates nearly $85 billion in direct spending and tax incentives for energy- and transportation-related programs.
• Every state offers some form of financial incentive to drive its clean energy economy.
• 23 states have adopted regional initiatives to reduce the global warming pollution from power plants
• 46 states offer some form of tax incentive to encourage residents and corporations to use renewable energy or adopt energy efficiency systems and equipment
• 29 states and the District of Columbia have established renewable portfolio standards, which require electricity providers to supply a minimum amount of power from renewable energy sources.
“There is bipartisan support and a growing market demand for transitioning to the clean energy economy,” said Phyllis Cuttino, director, U.S. Global Warming Campaign, at the Pew Environment Group, in a statement. “Americans understand the transition is good for the overall economy, is creating new opportunities for jobs and business growth, and helps protect our national security by reducing our dependence on foreign oil. Congress and the Obama Administration can and must produce energy and global warming legislation that creates jobs, enhances energy independence and sustains our environment.”