The following piece was originally posted by Jean Gulliver on the blog of the Progressive Business Leaders Network (PBLN) at www.pbln.org
According to a recent report from the Brookings Institute, in terms of overall size, the clean economy in the Boston metropolitan area ranks 8th among the largest metro areas in the US. The report, “Sizing the Clean Economy: A National and Regional Green Jobs Assessment” estimates that Boston currently boasts 41,825 clean economy jobs (with 4,300 alternative energy jobs), making up 1.7% of all the jobs in the region. Additionally, it is estimated that between 2003 and 2010, the Boston region added 7,793 clean jobs, representing a 3% annual growth in the sector. (The Brookings Institute’s profile of the Massachusetts clean economy is available here). The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center estimates that the alternative energy sector is even larger than the data put forth by the Brookings Institute; they count 400 companies in manufacturing, energy efficiency services, and research and development in the sector employing roughly 11,000 workers – a 65% increase from 2007. Whatever the specific numbers are, one thing is certain: Massachusetts is punching far above its weight, joining the ranks of states like California and New York as a national leader in fostering the growth of a clean energy economy.
Massachusetts has shown impressive leadership and foresight in putting together the state’s Clean Energy and Climate Plan for 2020 and adopting innovative policies such as the Green Communities Act and the Global Warming Solutions Act that are stimulating great economic development and helping to grow the clean-tech cluster. Supporting alternative and renewable energy initiatives will not only yield environmental benefits, it will drive long-term sustainable economic growth and has the potential to create thousands of jobs.
The critical importance of the moment was evidenced by a packed hearing room in Boston this week. The Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy, co-chaired by Senator Ben Downing, andRepresentative John Keenan was reviewing a wide range of bills addressing a range of issues from increasing renewable gas development and biomass production to promoting greater transparency in energy costs and increasing home energy efficiency.