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Progress on Green Jobs from the Recovery Act

Heather Zichal, Deputy Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change, looks at the green jobs element of Recovery Act job growth.

Ed. Note: You may have missed yesterday's CEA report on the Recovery Act finding that it has saved or created 1.5-2 million jobs; Heather Zichal takes a look at the green jobs component of the data.

A report delivered by the Council of Economic Advisers today found that the clean energy investments of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA)are not only creating jobs today, but for the future.  The clean energy provisions of ARRA alone have already saved or created 63,000 jobs and are expected to create more than 700,000 by 2012.   When we talk about clean energy jobs, we mean new work for skilled laborers who can install efficient heating and cooling systems and windows, who can retrofit homes to save electricity, who can build and install solar panels, wind turbines and other clean energy technologies.  These investments are positioning the American workforce to remain competitive and keep our nation at the forefront of a new low-carbon global economy.  At the same time, these initiatives are changing the way that we produce, distribute, and use energy to reduce green house gas emissions and cut our dependence on foreign oil.

As we have seen across the portfolio of Recovery Act clean energy programs, demand is in some cases exceeding expectations  with programs receiving far more qualified applicants than there is currently funding available.   That is why, as part of the jobs package on which the President is urging Congress to act, he has called for additional clean energy investments – including home weatherization and advanced energy manufacturing tax credits - which could put even more Americans to work right away.

The global competition to develop the technologies of a clean energy economy is happening right now.  We do not want to lose that competition and see the technology and jobs of tomorrow built overseas.  The Recovery Act investments are a good start, stimulating the American innovation and investments necessary to be the leader of a new energy future, but ultimately, to ensure the U.S. leads the world in the production of clean energy and to induce the necessary private investment, we must also pass comprehensive energy reform.  This will help unlock the true potential of the millions of jobs needed for the clean energy economy of tomorrow.

NOTE:  In case you missed it, this week Carol Browner, Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change, held a live chat.  You can watch the video here.  Also, get some additional perspectives on the President's record on clean energy and climate change from the Center for American Progress and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Heather Zichal is Deputy Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change