Dee DePass has been a Star Tribune business reporter since 1993, covering small business, financial institutions, manufacturing and, most recently, the economy. Originally from New York, Dee came to Minnesota after earning her master's in journalism at the University of Maryland and her undergraduate degree at Vassar College.

Posts about Energy

Green Jobs earn their paycheck

Posted by: Dee DePass Updated: October 19, 2011 - 5:13 PM

Whacking emissions, installing solar panels and erecting windmills are not just good for the earth, they're  good for American paychecks, according to a new top 10 list issued Wednesday by The Green Collar Association and The Center for American Progress.

The list attempts to show just how vital green jobs are to the economy and to possibly slashing the nation's 9.1 percent unemployment rate. You be the judge.  "Green" is certainly not curing all of  America's ills, but it appears to be a good start.


1. There are already 2.7 million jobs across the clean economy.

2 For every $1 million dollars spent on renewable energy,  energy efficiency, green transit and other clean energy projects, there are 16.7 green  jobs created.

3. The clean energy sector is growing a healthy 8.3 percent a year on average. The stars of such stats are:

  • U.S. wind energy - up 35 percent annually  from 2006-2010
  • Solar thermal energy - up 18.4 percent  annuall y from 2003-2010.
  • Solar Photovoltaic power - up 10.7 percent
  • Biofuels - up 8.9 percent

  4. The manufacturing of cleaner cars now employs more than 150,000 Americans.

 5. Median wages are about 13 percent higher in green energy careers than in other sectors of the economy.

6. On average about 90 percent of the products used in energy efficiency retrofits are made in America. Examples include sheetmetal for duct work (99%), rigid foam insulation (95%), vinyl windows (98%), furnaces (94%), heat pumps and AC (82 %).

7. Solar power component makers boast a positive trade balance with $1.9 billion in exports, including to China.

8. Three U.S. energy retrofit programs have employed 25,000 Americans in three months: 1) Weatherization Assistance Program; 2) Energy Efficiency Block Grant Program and 3) State Energy Programs. 

 9. Some 91 percent of firms doing clean energy retrofits are small businesses with fewer than 20 workers.

10. About 41 percent of the nation's green jobs offer medium and long term careers and  training opportunities. Roughly 26 percent are in the manufacturing sector.

State's CERTs program offers energy grants

Posted by: Dee DePass Updated: October 18, 2011 - 11:50 AM

Heads up tree huggers. This news is for you. 

The Minnesota Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) just announced a new round of green energy grants for communities. The grants are designed to cover installation, consulting fees and other labor costs associated with energy efficiency or renewable energy projects.

The effort will help create or protect numerous jobs, a critical step considering that Minnesota still struggles with a 7.2 percent unemployment rate.

The application deadline is Nov. 15 at 5 P.M. That's less than a month away.

The grant pool up for grabs totals $70,000, but a maximum of $10,000 will be alloted for each of seven designated regions.

Organizers noted that project proposals should focus on community-based energy projects that also provide an educational  forum for communities. The educational component should emphasize green energy technologies, their benefits and impact on the economy, environment, and community. 
Since 2006, the state's CERTs program has funded more than 150 projects including replacing energy-gobbling heating systems in city-owned buildings; installing solar panels in schools; and various wind power and greenhouse projects.






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