Energy efficiency can grow Minnesota’s economy and create quality jobs

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – Building on Minnesota’s strengths in energy efficiency can maximize job growth and give the state a competitive economic edge. That’s according to The Minnesota Jobs Project: A Guide to Creating Jobs in Energy Efficiency, a new report created by the American Jobs Project in partnership with the University of Minnesota. The report is funded by The JPB Foundation, Incite Labs, the Berkeley Energy and Climate Institute, the Fung Institute, and the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society. This is the latest publication from the American Jobs Project after its release of ten state reports last year.

“Our research shows that smart policies and a focus on industrial clusters can allow states to become hubs of innovation and job creation in advanced industries that dovetail with a state’s own strengths,” said Robin Sternberg, co-author of the Minnesota Jobs Project. “For Minnesota, this approach could employ an annual average of 26,000 people in the energy efficiency industry over the next 14 years.”

Millions of Americans lost good-paying jobs during the recession, and unfortunately, many of the jobs created during the recovery have been in relatively low-skill, low-income occupations. In contrast, the Minnesota Jobs Project proposes innovative strategies to create thousands of skilled jobs that pay well for Minnesotans today and into the future, informed by principles of competition, local control, and less red tape.

The report recommends state-specific policies and non-legislative solutions to support job creation by capitalizing on growing market opportunities and aligning manufacturing with critical economic system components, including access to capital, innovation ecosystems, and workforce development.

The Minnesota Jobs Project finds that:

  • Minnesota is home to 450 companies that provide energy efficiency products and services, ranging from growing startups to large, established businesses. The robust supply chain can help foster a stronger manufacturing sector to supply growing national and regional demand.
  • The energy efficiency industry is an ideal mechanism for job growth in Minnesota due to the state’s company base, leading research universities with expertise in energy efficiency technology, strong innovative workforce, and attractive business climate. An increased focus on energy efficiency also aligns with the state’s clean energy leadership and capitalizes on extensive energy savings opportunities across Minnesota’s building stock.
  • By building strong economic foundations that support industry growth, Minnesota’s energy efficiency industry has the opportunity to employ an annual average of 26,000 Minnesotans for the next 14 years. This projection includes both new and sustained jobs.

University of Minnesota’s Ellen Anderson was an advisor to the Minnesota Jobs Project. Anderson stated, “The American Jobs Project offers a critical cluster-based approach to Minnesota’s energy efficiency industry that builds upon existing momentum in the state. The report provides clear and concrete strategies that state leaders can advance across government, industry, and academia. Continued leadership and collaboration can generate substantial energy savings while maximizing economic impacts, meaning more jobs for Minnesotans and increased revenue in the state.”

The American Jobs Project website features reports on Minnesota and many other states, as well as a Policy Bank detailing best practices and innovative ideas for job growth in the advanced energy industry. To learn more or to download a copy of the Minnesota report, visit http://americanjobsproject.us/ajp-state/minnesota/.

Grid modernization can grow Washington’s economy and create quality jobs

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Building on Washington’s strengths in grid modernization can maximize job growth and give the state a competitive economic edge. That is according to The Washington Jobs Project: A Guide to Creating Jobs in Grid Modernization, a new report created by the American Jobs Project in partnership with the University of Washington’s Clean Energy Institute and Western Washington University. The JPB Foundation, Incite Labs, the Berkeley Energy and Climate Institute, the Fung Institute, and the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society funded the report.

“Our research shows that smart policies and a focus on sector-based growth can allow states to become hubs of innovation and job creation in advanced industries that dovetail with a state’s own strengths,” said Kate Ringness, lead editor of The Washington Jobs Project. “By fostering the grid modernization industry in the state, Washington could reasonably support an average of over 13,800 direct, indirect, and induced manufacturing and supply chain jobs annually from 2017 through 2030.”

Millions of Americans lost good-paying jobs during the recession, and unfortunately, many of the jobs created during the recovery have been in relatively low-skill, low-income occupations. In contrast, The Washington Jobs Project proposes innovative strategies to create thousands of skilled jobs that pay well for Washingtonians today and into the future, informed by principles of competition, local control, and less red tape.

The report recommends state-specific policies and non-legislative solutions to support job creation by capitalizing on growing market opportunities and aligning manufacturing with critical economic system components, including access to capital, innovation ecosystems, and workforce development.

Grid modernization improves reliability, security, and resiliency of the electric grid; ensures efficient transmission and distribution of electricity; creates two-way communications pathways between consumers and utilities; and enables flexibility in how electricity is generated. Grid modernization technology includes: energy storage, advanced sensors, high-voltage direct current transmission and distribution lines, transformers, smart meters, and Internet of Things platforms for grid management.

“Washington State stands ready to become a leading global innovation center for advanced grid and energy storage technologies based on our solid economic foundation that mixes research, industry and policy,” said J. Thomas Ranken, president & CEO of the CleanTech Alliance. “Building programs to optimize and accelerate research, industry and policy collaboration can propel our state forward while creating thousands of clean energy jobs that improve our economy, energy resiliency and our lives.”

The Washington Jobs Project finds that:

  • Washington state holds a competitive advantage in the grid modernization sector, thanks to its:
    • Well-established anchor companies such as Schweitzer Engineering Labs, Itron, and Doosan GridTech.
    • World-class research facilities including the University of Washington, Washington State University, and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory performing cutting-edge research in grid modernization.
    • Proven competitive advantage in the internet of things—a key element of grid modernization technology.
    • Strategic export location to the Pacific Northwest and Asia.
    • Well-educated workforce.
    • State and corporate leaders’ commitment to increase the deployment of renewable energy generation.

By building strong economic foundations that support industry growth, Washington’s grid modernization industry has the potential to support 13,800 direct, indirect, and induced jobs, on average, annually from 2017 through 2030.

Director of the University of Washington’s Clean Energy Institute, Daniel Schwartz, and Director of Western Washington University’s Institute for Energy Studies, Joel Swisher, were partners in The Washington Jobs Project. Schwartz stated, “The Washington jobs report makes clear that jobs in the advanced energy sector benefit the entire state today, and with smart policy, wise investment and partnerships, we have an extraordinary opportunity to drive job growth that touches every county.”

The Washington Jobs Project offers policy recommendations that could help grow Washington’s grid modernization industry. These include:

  • Strengthening the state’s foreign direct investment strategy.
  • Providing tax incentives to grid modernization companies.
  • Supporting access to university and national lab resources for small businesses.
  • Expanding career-connected learning in high schools.
  • Incentivizing utility innovation.

To learn more and download a copy of the Washington report, visit http://americanjobsproject.us/ajp-state/washington/.

Industrial energy efficiency can grow West Virginia’s economy and create quality jobs

CHARLESTON, W. Va. – Building on West Virginia’s strengths in industrial energy efficiency can maximize job growth and give the state a competitive economic edge. That is according to The West Virginia Jobs Project: A Guide to Creating Jobs in Industrial Energy Efficiency, a new report created by the American Jobs Project in partnership with West Virginia University. The JPB Foundation, Incite Labs, the Berkeley Energy and Climate Institute, the Fung Institute, and the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society funded the report.

“Our research shows that smart policies and a focus on sector-based growth can allow states to become hubs of innovation and job creation in advanced industries that dovetail with a state’s own strengths,” said Kate Ringness, Lead Editor of The West Virginia Jobs Project. “By fostering the industrial energy efficiency industry in the state, West Virginia could reasonably support over 6,100 direct, indirect, and induced manufacturing and supply chain jobs, on average, annually from 2017 through 2030.”

Millions of Americans lost good-paying jobs during the recession, and unfortunately, many of the jobs created during the recovery have been in relatively low-skill, low-income occupations. In contrast, The West Virginia Jobs Project proposes innovative strategies to create thousands of skilled jobs that pay well for West Virginians today and into the future, informed by principles of competition, local control, and less red tape.

The report recommends state-specific policies and non-legislative solutions to support job creation by capitalizing on growing market opportunities and aligning manufacturing with critical economic system components, including access to capital, innovation ecosystems, and workforce development.

The West Virginia Jobs Project finds that:

  • West Virginia holds a competitive advantage in the industrial energy efficiency industry, thanks to its:
    • Top-notch research facilities such as the National Energy and Technology Laboratory and West Virginia University that perform cutting-edge research in energy efficiency
    • Abundance of natural resources, providing plentiful feedstock for manufacturers of energy-efficient products
    • Robust chemical manufacturing industry, including a number of large anchor companies, engaged in manufacturing and R&D for products along the industrial energy efficiency supply chain
    • Readily available and skilled workforce
    • Strategic centralized location within overnight trucking distance of approximately 50 percent of the U.S. population, providing in-state manufacturers and distributors the flexibility to tap into regional energy efficiency markets
  • By building strong economic foundations that support industry growth, West Virginia’s industrial energy efficiency sector has the potential to employ an average of over 6,100 direct, indirect, and induced jobs annually from 2017 through 2030.

James Van Nostrand, director of West Virginia University’s Center for Energy and Sustainable Development, was an advisor to The West Virginia Jobs Project. Professor Nostrand stated, “The West Virginia Jobs Project includes many excellent recommendations to create jobs and economic opportunity within our state. In particular, the report addresses topics that desperately need attention in West Virginia: resources for entrepreneurs and industrial energy efficiency. Industrial energy efficiency can help West Virginia manufacturers reduce their energy costs and remain competitive in today’s marketplace. Adopting the recommendations offered by The West Virginia Jobs Project would put the state on a more sustainable path toward economic prosperity.”

The West Virginia Jobs Project offers policy recommendations that could help grow West Virginia’s industrial energy efficiency sector. These include:

  • Strengthening and expanding the state’s foreign direct investment strategy
  • Encouraging commercialization of cutting-edge research
  • Developing relationships with national foundations engaging in program-related investment
  • Creating tax incentives for investment in startups
  • Aligning community college efforts with private sector needs
  • Offering industrial energy efficiency tax incentives to manufacturers

The West Virginia Jobs Project focuses on the job-creating potential of advanced energy, which has been a platform in TechConnect West Virginia’s Blueprint for technology-based growth since 2009,” said  Anne Barth, Executive Director, TechConnect West Virginia. “In particular, the report highlights the industrial energy efficiency sector as one that holds promise for the state. Stakeholders can use this report to guide a productive dialogue about how to increase the number of jobs around energy efficiency and grow the advanced manufacturing economy in the state.”

The American Jobs Project website features reports on West Virginia and many other states, as well as a Policy Bank detailing best practices and innovative ideas for job growth in advanced energy industries. To learn more and download a copy of the West Virginia report, visit http://americanjobsproject.us/ajp-state/west-virginia/.

Photonics can grow Montana’s economy and create quality jobs

MISSOULA, Mont. – Building on Montana’s strengths in photonics can maximize job growth and give the state a competitive economic edge. This is according to The Montana Jobs Project: A Guide to Photonics and Advanced Energy Job Creation, a new report created by the American Jobs Project in partnership with the University of Montana. The JPB Foundation, Incite Labs, the Berkeley Energy and Climate Institute, the Fung Institute, and the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society funded the report.

“Our research shows that smart policies and a focus on sector-based growth can allow states to become hubs of innovation and job creation in advanced industries that dovetail with a state’s own strengths,” said Kate Ringness, Lead Editor of The Montana Jobs Project. “By fostering photonics industry growth, Montana could reasonably support over 6,300 direct, indirect, and induced jobs from 2017 through 2030.”

Millions of Americans lost good-paying jobs during the recession, and unfortunately, many of the jobs created during the recovery have been in relatively low-skill, low-income occupations. In contrast, The Montana Jobs Project proposes innovative strategies to create thousands of skilled jobs that pay well for Montanans today and into the future, informed by principles of competition, local control, and less red tape.

Mary Craigle, Director of Data Initiatives and Special Projects at the Montana Department of Labor and Industry stated, “As Montana’s economy continues to be driven by a diverse spectrum of industry sectors, The Montana Jobs Project provides a valuable guide to photonics and advanced energy job creation.”

The report recommends state-specific policies and non-legislative solutions to support job creation by capitalizing on growing market opportunities and aligning manufacturing with critical economic system components, including access to capital, innovation ecosystems, and workforce development.

 The Montana Jobs Project finds that:

  • Montana holds a competitive advantage in the photonics sector, thanks to its:
    • Substantial pre-existing photonics cluster that currently employs over 400 Montanans at forty-eight photonics firms
    • Defined organization of the cluster through the Montana Photonics Industry Alliance
    • Rising national and regional demand for photonics and growth in photonics end-use markets, including advanced energy
    • Access to cutting-edge photonics labs and centers at Montana State University
    • Excellent workforce development program at Gallatin College
    • Network of local businesses and incubators available to advise and grow the industry
  • By building strong economic foundations that support industry growth, Montana’s photonics industry has the potential to employ 6,300 direct, indirect, and induced jobs from 2017 through 2030.

University of Montana’s Paul Polzin was an advisor to The Montana Jobs Project. Polzin stated, “The Montana Jobs Project proves that Montana’s economy is not just about natural resources. The authors of this report show that Montana’s cutting-edge photonics industry could serve as a catalyst for job growth. The report provides a list of practical and time-proven strategies and policies to help this industry grow. It is a must-read for every economic developer, elected official, and everyone else who is working to grow and diversify the Montana economy.”

The Montana Jobs Project offers policy recommendations that could help grow Montana’s photonics industry. These include:

  • Boosting the state’s foreign direct investment strategy
  • Providing tax incentives to attract new photonics businesses and fill supply chain gaps
  • Establishing a technology investment tax credit
  • Leveraging philanthropic funding to grow the cluster
  • Becoming an AIM photonics innovation center
  • Introducing lab space and equipment sharing

The Montana Jobs Project report provides an exciting vision of how Montana can leverage its growing photonics industry and market opportunities in the advanced energy sector to create high quality jobs and economic opportunity in the state,” said Larry Johnson, President of the Montana Photonics Industry Alliance. “The strategies presented in the report are well founded and realistic. This is a call to action that demands our attention.”

The American Jobs Project website features reports on Montana and many other states, as well as a Policy Bank detailing best practices and innovative ideas for job growth in advanced energy industries. To learn more and download a copy of the Montana report, visit http://americanjobsproject.us/ajp-state/montana/.