The Green Economy Review: Insight into Green Job Developments Worldwide Volume 9. July, 2011

Welcome to  Blue Green Canada's Green Economy Review, our monthly round-up of green economic developments across the globe.
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In this issue:
Green Manufacturing Starts
Ontario’s Green Energy Act continues to attract manufacturing to the province. Last month:
  • Arise Technologies announced that they would go ahead with plans to build a silicon furnace in Kitchener to produce high-quality silicon for the solar energy market in Ontario.

Outside of Ontario, Siemens plans to hire as many as 340 people at a new plant in Manchester, England, that will focus on building transmissions systems to connect alternative-energy sources such as offshore wind to the grid.

Strong Demand for Renewable Energy
Renewable Energy continues to grow rapidly here in North America and across the globe.
Demand for solar products is strong in Ontario as municipalities, businesses, schools and farmers begin installing solar panels and participating in the FIT.  Demand for wind is expected to be strong too, and a recent report estimates that if the Ontario Government sticks with the Green Energy Act and Long Term Energy Plan, the wind energy industry will bring in $16B of private investment and create 80,000 person years of employment.
Nova Scotia is fueling demand for renewable energy products thanks to their commitment to generate 25% of their electricity from renewable sources by 2015, up from the current level of 13%. The cornerstone of N.S.’s plan is their Community Feed-in Tariff (COMFIT) program, which pays favourable rates to RE projects that are at least 51% owned by community groups including municipalities, universities, First Nations, co-ops and Community Economic Development Investment Funds (CEDIFs).
Demand for Solar PV continues to fuel job growth in Germany, and the industry now employs over 100,000 people. Demand is expected to continue to be strong thanks to, among other things, Germany’s ambitious RE goals and Italy's feed-in tariff, revised this month, which includes a Made in Europe clause. In addition to the FIT, Italy’s demand was further buoyed after a recent referendum that saw more than 94% of voters oppose the government's plans to resume nuclear power generation.
Solar panels and companies are on also the rise in the UK.
In related news:
  • Google released a report on renewable energy which argued that clean energy can be a major source of jobs and growth in the U.S., and waiting would be costly, leaving trillions of dollars on the table.
Demand Fuels Growth in Green Jobs
Not surprisingly, the growth in renewable energy is complemented by growth in employment and in other similar markets.
According to a new ranking of the fastest hiring industries by IBISWorld, Green industries are hiring at a rate well above more traditional industries, and despite the turbulent economy, the green jobs market is flourishing. Some examples:
Green Jobs Training – Addressing the Skills Gap
To ready the labour market for these new careers, green jobs training continues to gain attention, especially in the U.S. where both the Department of Labor and Department of Energy are funding training programs.
Last month, training programs were announced in:
In addition, The US Department of Labor awarded $5.5 million to the Laborers International Union of North America for green jobs training, and a bill was passed in Albany, NY, to create a Green Jobs Workforce Subcommittee which will conduct market data analysis to help with the growth of green businesses.
Financing the Transformation
The green economy appears to be attracting considerable capital as the demand continues to be strong. Last month:
Retrofits Receive Attention
Energy Efficiency (EE) Retrofits also received a fair bit of attention of the past month.
Here in Canada, the Columbia Institute released a report which showed that EE investments more than pay for themselves, but financing mechanisms need to be put in place to help homeowners overcome the initial costs. Coincidentally, this type of financing will soon be rolled out in Vancouver, where the city announced a partnership with credit-union Vancity to provide low interest, long-term financing to homeowners who would like to make energy efficiency improvements to their homes.
In a similar vein, an EE financing bill was passed in New York State last month to allow “on-bill financing,” one of the Columbia Institute’s preferred funding mechanisms.
Pennsylvania is also looking at passing an EE financing bill, and California, the first state pass such a bill, has recently further incentivized EE retrofits with a series of rebates and other incentives.  EE upgrades are getting a boost across the U.S. in part due to the Federal Government’s “ Better Buildings Initiative” which is expected to create some 114,000 jobs nation-wide.
Retrofits are also receiving attention outside of North America. Of note, London mayor Boris Johnson recently announced a massive drive for retrofitting public buildings in the city.
And in addition to retrofits, jurisdictions are increasingly making changes to the building code to ensure that our future housing stock won’t be in need of retrofits, as Vancouver and other B.C. municipalities did last month by requiring new buildings be built solar-ready.
Other Green Economic Developments
Last month also saw a number of other green economic announcements and developments. Among the notable:
  • The FIFA World Cup is "going green" by extending its sponsorship with solar panel manufacturer, Yingli Green Energy.
  • An interactive Solar Map that allows users to calculate solar energy potential for any NYC building has been made available to the public.
International Developments
The green economy continues to grow in countries across the globe. Reports from last month include:
  • The Thai government is preparing to launch the second phase of the green industry development project.
  • Iran inaugurated its first wind/solar plant.