Renewable Energy and Economic Growth Go Hand in Hand for Massachusetts
As the American economy begins to recover, some might argue that renewable energy has played a role. In Massachusetts, the clean energy industry has caused significant growth. Jobs in the state's clean energy sector have increased by 24 percent since 2011, according to the latest report from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC).
Now almost 80,000 people are employed by the state's clean energy industry with jobs focused on renewable energy, carbon management, alternative transportation and related technologies. About 30,000 of these employees work specifically with green energy according to the report.
MassCEC predicts that Massachusetts will continue to see strong growth over the next year. In fact, it estimates the renewable energy sector will see the job market grow another 11.1 percent, which would bring the clean energy workforce to a whopping 88,000 people.
Solar energy seems to be the biggest economy booster in Massachusetts. According to the Boston Globe, about 12,550 of all the renewable jobs in the state come from the solar market. The state has implemented incentive programs to encourage solar growth and has even set a goal to reach 1,600 megawatts (MW) of solar capacity by 2020—enough to power 400,000 homes. As of Sept. 1, Massachusetts had 311 MW of installed solar energy.
Wind power has also been the beneficiary of government incentives, but has seen slightly smaller growth, with just 100 MW of installed wind capacity by the end of 2012, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. However, the state has a goal to increase its capacity to 2,000 MW by 2020. The wind industry employs about 2,300 in Massachusetts.
Although not as highly thought of in the renewable energy world, hydropower plays a big role in clean energy jobs within the Bay State. It employs about 2,700 Massachusetts residents, including those involved with tidal or wave technologies. Hydropower accounts for 13.2 percent of Massachusetts' energy in the winter and 14.2 percent in the summer, according to the state's Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs.
Top Three Reasons for Significant Renewable Energy Growth
In the midst of worldwide hype about reducing pollution and switching to green energy, Massachusetts is leading the way toward a sustainable future. While many states may tout renewable energy expansions, not everyone can boast the clean energy job growth Massachusetts has experienced. Three things can be attributed to the significant growth seen within the state.
1. Diversified portfolio
The government hasn't focused on building up just one type of renewable energy generation. It's set concrete goals and deadlines to boost the state's capacity of both wind and solar energy separately, allowing it to have a diversified energy portfolio. This is different from many other states that lump all forms of renewable energy into one category. For example, Texas' Renewable Portfolio Standard mandated that the state generate 10,000 MW of renewable energy by 2025. However, only wind energy took off in the state. Now it has more than 12,000 MW of wind power but hasn't taken advantage of its sun-filled skies nearly as much as it could.
2. Government incentives
The state of Massachusetts offers plenty of incentives to make installing renewable energy an affordable option. It offers rebates for residential or commercial customers who install solar panels, tax deductions and exemptions for wind, hydro or solar installations as well as a number of grants and utility renewable energy rebate programs.
3. Outside investments
It's no secret that investors are looking to capitalize on the renewable energy craze. In fact, worldwide, clean energy project financing grew by 404 percent between 2011 and 2012, according to MassCEC. In 2012, the state received about $312 million from outside investors for clean energy projects. One could argue that both the diversified portfolio and government incentives were keys in attracting investors.
Paul Batistelli freelances in the energy field for the promotion of a greener society and energy means. He works to raise awareness on ecological issues, energy dependency, and reducing carbon footprints.
Visit EcoWatch’s RENEWABLES page for more related news on this topic.
- Redwoods are the world's tallest trees.
- Now scientists have discovered they are even bigger than we thought.
- Using laser technology they map the 80-meter giants.
- Trees are a key plank in the fight against climate change.
They are among the largest trees in the world, descendants of forests where dinosaurs roamed.
Pixabay / Simi Luft<p><span>Until recently, measuring these trees meant scaling their 80 meter high trunks with a tape measure. Now, a team of scientists from University College London and the University of Maryland uses advanced laser scanning, to create 3D maps and calculate the total mass.</span></p><p>The results are striking: suggesting the trees <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">may be as much as 30% larger than earlier measurements suggested.</a> Part of that could be due to the additional trunks the Redwoods can grow as they age, <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">a process known as reiteration</a>.</p>
New 3D measurements of large redwood trees for biomass and structure. Nature / UCL<p>Measuring the trees more accurately is important because carbon capture will probably play a key role in the battle against climate change. Forest <a href="https://www.wri.org/blog/2020/09/carbon-sequestration-natural-forest-regrowth" target="_blank">growth could absorb billions of tons</a> of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year.</p><p>"The importance of big trees is widely-recognised in terms of carbon storage, demographics and impact on their surrounding ecosystems," the authors wrote<a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank"> in the journal Nature</a>. "Unfortunately the importance of big trees is in direct proportion to the difficulty of measuring them."</p><p>Redwoods are so long lived because of their ability to <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">cope with climate change, resist disease and even survive fire damage</a>, the scientists say. Almost a fifth of their volume may be bark, which helps protect them.</p>
Carbon Capture Champions<p><span>Earlier research by scientists at Humboldt University and the University of Washington found that </span><a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378112716302584" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Redwood forests store almost 2,600 tonnes of carbon per hectare</a><span>, their bark alone containing more carbon than any other neighboring species.</span></p><p>While the importance of trees in fighting climate change is widely accepted, not all species enjoy the same protection as California's coastal Redwoods. In 2019 the world lost the equivalent of <a href="https://www.worldwildlife.org/threats/deforestation-and-forest-degradation" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">30 soccer fields of forest cover every minute</a>, due to agricultural expansion, logging and fires, according to The Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF).</p>
Pixabay<p>Although <a href="https://c402277.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/publications/1420/files/original/Deforestation_fronts_-_drivers_and_responses_in_a_changing_world_-_full_report_%281%29.pdf?1610810475" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">the rate of loss is reported to have slowed in recent years</a>, reforesting the world to help stem climate change is a massive task.</p><p><span>That's why the World Economic Forum launched the Trillion Trees Challenge (</span><a href="https://www.1t.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">1t.org</a><span>) and is engaging organizations and individuals across the globe through its </span><a href="https://uplink.weforum.org/uplink/s/uplink-issue/a002o00000vOf09AAC/trillion-trees" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Uplink innovation crowdsourcing platform</a><span> to support the project.</span></p><p>That's backed up by research led by ETH Zurich/Crowther Lab showing there's potential to restore tree coverage across 2.2 billion acres of degraded land.</p><p>"Forests are critical to the health of the planet," according to <a href="https://www.1t.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">1t.org</a>. "They sequester carbon, regulate global temperatures and freshwater flows, recharge groundwater, anchor fertile soil and act as flood barriers."</p><p><em data-redactor-tag="em" data-verified="redactor">Reposted with permission from the </em><span><em data-redactor-tag="em" data-verified="redactor"><a href="https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2021/03/redwoods-store-more-co2-and-are-more-enormous-than-we-thought/" target="_blank">World Economic Forum</a>.</em></span></p>
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