Green energy has potential for job creation

May 12, 2009
by Purchasingb2b staff

Ontario could create up to 90,000 jobs through investments in green energy and grid upgrades, according to a report released today by WWF-Canada, Blue Green Canada and the Green Energy Act Alliance

"This reaffirms what we already know: green energy equals green jobs," said Deb Doncaster, campaign chair for the Green Energy Act Alliance. "While the Green Energy Act gets us part way there, the government will need to make significant investments in the electricity grid in order to make the system work properly and drive investment and jobs across the province."

The study, led by professor Robert Pollin, co-director of the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, assessed the job creation potential of two investment scenarios.

Under the first scenario, based on European countries that have laws similar to the proposed Green Energy Act, a total investment of $47.1 billion over 10 years would result in 90,000 jobs per year. The jobs would ramp up over time as investments in conservation, renewable energy, recycling waste energy into electricity and smart grid upgrades increased.

Under the second scenario, based on the green energy investments proposed in the Ontario Power Authority’s plan for rebuilding the province’s electricity system, investments totaling $18.6 billion over 10 years would result in the creation of 35,000 jobs per year. The Ontario Power Authority is expected to release a revised electricity plan this summer, once it has gauged the initial response to the Green Energy Act.

"This study shows that the Green Energy Act could create far more than the 50,000 new jobs promised by the government, but only if we raise our level of green power ambition above and beyond what was in the old electricity plan," said Dr. Keith Stewart, climate change campaign manager for WWF-Canada.

The study found a wide range of jobs would be created, from construction to professional services, and most jobs would pay over $20 per hour. To ensure Ontario maximizes the job creation potential, the study recommends increasing local content.

"The members of our union are ready to produce the next generation of clean energy products and parts, such as steel for windmills and glass for solar panels," said Ken Neumann, National Director for Canada of the United Steelworkers, a member of Blue Green Canada. "This study shows that, with the right policies, we can clean up our environment and also create the good green jobs of the future."