Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

How Montana Could Add 4,000 Renewable Energy Jobs

Business

Montana appears to be sitting on a state full of potential when it comes to renewable energy.

The American Wind Energy Association ranked Montana third in the country in wind resources, but its position falls to 20th and 21st in number of wind turbines and installed capacity, respectively. The Solar Energy Industries Association's national database map shows a handful of solar manufacturers, installers and contractors—an amount that beats out few states aside from its neighbors North and South Dakota.

If the state continues lagging in clean energy deployment, it could miss out on a stronger employment base. According to a new study from Synapse Energy Economics, prepared for the Montana Environmental Information Center and Sierra Club, Montana could supply more than 4,000 renewable energy jobs by 2030. It's the first report of its kind for Montana.

“This report shows us that by investing in energy efficiency upgrades, solar and wind generation, we can create strong, family-wage careers for Montanans," said Marty Wilde, CEO and principal engineer at WINData LLC. "Our local potential is vast: We have some of the nation’s best wind resources. Montana can use its own sustainable natural resources such as wind to create in-state jobs and build businesses.

"It’s time for Montana to further invest in and expand our renewable energy sectors.”

According to the report, small commercial and residential solar power creates the largest job impact per average megawatt with 9.2 jobs per year, followed by large-scale industrial photovoltaics (PV), energy efficiency installations and wind energy. Energy efficiency creates the most jobs for every dollar invested at the installation stage, good for a rate of 11 job-years per $1 million of investment.

“It is important that development of Montana’s wind and energy resources moves forward," said Ben Basom, a spokesman for the Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters. "Not only will we create hundreds of family wage careers for Montanans during construction, but we will also create many more sustaining indirect jobs as a result. We invest a lot of resources to produce the highest-skilled and most productive workforce in the industry – we have that workforce in Montana, ready to get started.”

Montana was one of several states in which a legislator tried to pass an American Legislative Exchange Council-sponsored standard last year to curtail the growth of renewable energy. In the case of State Sen. Debby Barrett (R-Dillion), Senate Bill 31 would have altered the definition of a renewable energy project and the type of project that would qualify for benefits.

Despite Montana's middle-of-the-pack rankings, wind development alone has yielded $1.5 billion in capital investment, $23 million in property taxes collected and about $1.5 million annually in lease payments to landowners since 2005's Montana's Renewable Power Production and Rural Economic Development Act was enacted, according to Gov. Steve Bullock's office.

Additionally, Environment America listed Billings as a "solar beginner" in its list of "shining cities" at the forefront of a solar revolution. The new study from the Sierra Club and Montana Environmental Information Center suggests that more is possible.

“This report confirms that Montana is ideally positioned to be a clean energy leader nationally and in our region,” said Jack Isbell, a solar installer with Solar Montana in Helena. “We’ve already seen rapid industry growth as more Montanans install solar on their homes and businesses.

"In the next 20 years, the growth of clean energy will only continue. Investing in more clean energy resources will create sustainable careers for Montanans that will bolster our economy, fulfill the demand for clean energy from consumers in neighboring states and meet the newly proposed federal carbon pollution standards.”

——–

YOU ALSO MIGHT LIKE

Why ALEC’s Attacks on Renewable Energy Failed Nationwide

20 Cities Shining Brightest With Solar Energy

What Is Your State's Renewable Energy Grade?

——–

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Residents plant mangroves on the coast of West Aceh District in Indonesia on Feb. 21, 2020. Mangroves play a crucial role in stabilizing the coastline, providing protection from storms, waves and tidal erosion. Dekyon Eon / Opn Images / Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Mangroves play a vital role in capturing carbon from the atmosphere. Mangrove forests are tremendous assets in the fight to stem the climate crisis. They store more carbon than a rainforest of the same size.

Read More Show Less
UN World Oceans Day is usually an invite-only affair at the UN headquarters in New York, but this year anyone can join in by following the live stream on the UNWOD website from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST. https://unworldoceansday.org/

Monday is World Oceans Day, but how can you celebrate our blue planet while social distancing?

Read More Show Less
Cryptococcus yeasts (pictured), including ones that are hybrids, can cause life-threatening infections in primarily immunocompromised people. KATERYNA KON/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY / Getty Images

By Jacob L. Steenwyk and Antonis Rokas

From the mythical minotaur to the mule, creatures created from merging two or more distinct organisms – hybrids – have played defining roles in human history and culture. However, not all hybrids are as fantastic as the minotaur or as dependable as the mule; in fact, some of them cause human diseases.

Read More Show Less
National Trails Day 2020 is now titled In Solidarity, AHS Suspends Promotion of National Trails Day 2020. The American Hiking Society is seeking to amplify Black voices in the outdoor community and advocate for equal access to the outdoors. Klaus Vedfelt / DigitalVision / Getty Images

This Saturday, June 6, marks National Trails Day, an annual celebration of the remarkable recreational, scenic and hiking trails that crisscross parks nationwide. The event, which started in 1993, honors the National Trail System and calls for volunteers to help with trail maintenance in parks across the country.

Read More Show Less
Indigenous people from the Parque das Tribos community mourn the death of Chief Messias of the Kokama tribe from Covid-19, in Manaus, Brazil, on May 14, 2020. MICHAEL DANTAS / AFP / Getty Images

By John Letzing

This past Wednesday, when some previously hard-hit countries were able to register daily COVID-19 infections in the single digits, the Navajo Nation – a 71,000 square-kilometer (27,000-square-mile) expanse of the western US – reported 54 new cases of what's referred to locally as "Dikos Ntsaaígíí-19."

Read More Show Less
World Environment Day was put into motion almost fifty years ago by the United Nations as a response to a multitude of environmental threats. RicardoImagen / Getty Images

It's a different kind of World Environment Day this year. In prior years, it might have been enough to plant a tree, spend some extra time in the garden, or teach kids the importance of recycling. This year we have heavier tasks at hand. It's been months since we've been able to spend sufficient time outside, and as we lustfully watch the beauty of a new spring through our kitchen's glass windows, we have to decide how we'll interact with the natural world on our release, and how we can prevent, or be equipped to handle, future threats against our wellbeing.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Experts are worried that COVID-19, a primarily respiratory and airway disease, could have permanent effects on lungs, inhibiting the ability for divers to continue diving. Tiffany Duong / Ocean Rebels

Scuba divers around the world are holding their metaphorical breath to see if a coronavirus infection affects the ability to dive.

Read More Show Less