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"Green Economy" Could Replace Jobs Lost in NH

June 9, 2008

Merrimack, NH - Higher unemployment figures and gas prices at more than $4 a gallon are making uncertain times even tougher on Granite State residents. However, a new report shines some light on a way to solve both problems, while improving the environment as well, with "green industry" jobs.

The report, from the University of Massachusetts' Political Economy Research Institute, says making New Hampshire into an energy-efficient state will require plumbers, engineers, and many of the other skilled trades already employed here. Peter Altman, of the Natural Resources Defense Council, says that will mean work for years to come.

"A generation of workers at every skill level, in a huge number of existing occupations, will be needed to produce, install and deliver the clean energy solutions we need to do the job."

Jim Grady with LighTec, a commercial lighting company in Merrimack, says the work it will take to make New Hampshire greener and more energy-independent will go far beyond just installing solar panels.

"It isn't just about alternative sources of energy. It's also about high-efficiency refrigerators, and high-efficiency lighting. We need to make sure we're focusing on energy-saving ideas that make economic sense."

In New Hampshire, leaders of environment-related businesses believe the first wave of job growth will be in the area of retrofitting homes and workplaces for greater energy efficiency. They also expect industries based on generating power from wood chips and biomass, and on building and installing renewable energy systems, such as small wind turbines.

John Robinson/Craig Eicher, Public News Service - NH