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Report: Calif. Tops Nation for Energy-Efficiency Jobs

A new report says California has the nation's largest workforce in energy-efficiency services, from new construction to retrofitting older structures. (Jeremy Levine)
A new report says California has the nation's largest workforce in energy-efficiency services, from new construction to retrofitting older structures. (Jeremy Levine)
December 12, 2016

LOS ANGELES -- California is a powerhouse in a promising field for job creation, according to a new report that paints energy efficiency as a growing industry and an economic driver.

Some of the more than 300,000 jobs in energy efficiency in California - and 1.9 million nationwide - are in new construction, while others involve bringing older buildings, lights and appliances up to code.

The report, by the group Environmental Entrepreneurs, said these businesses project a 13 percent growth rate this year. But Bob Keefe, executive director for the group, warned that relaxing federal energy efficiency standards could stall the momentum.

"We're in a very dangerous spot right now,” Keefe warned. "Hopefully, smart lawmakers in states like California will continue moving forward with the smart energy choices that we're making in renewables and in energy efficiency and keep these jobs growing - like these 1.9 million energy efficiency jobs - in the future."

Of the companies currently operating in the energy efficiency field, 70 percent are small businesses, the report said. As a result, the sector often isn't recognized as an industry.

The report indicated that policies in California are paying off - even while the state's energy consumption is only increasing by one percent a year, according to the California Energy Commission.

California's Senate Bill 32, aimed at creating more ambitious targets for reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, faced strong opposition. Republican legislators were concerned that meeting the stricter regulations would be costly for some businesses.

But Keefe said the bill continues a longtime trend of environmental leadership in the state.

"It's got some of the best policies of any state in America,” he said, "and as a result, it's creating jobs. "

According to the report, the greatest concentration of energy efficiency jobs in the state is in the metro area that includes L.A., Long Beach and Santa Ana.

Logan Pollard, Public News Service - CA