Report: Missouri Ranks Fourth in Clean Jobs in Q1

Missouri’s Renewable Energy Standard Bears Fruit — But Loss of State Solar Rebate Jeopardizes Thousands of Missouri Solar Jobs; E.P.A. Standards for Existing Power Plants Expected to Create New Opportunities

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Patrick Mitchell, (703) 276-3266 or pmitchell@hastingsgroup.com; or Jeff Benzak, (202) 513-6248, jbenzak@e2.org.

WASHINGTON (May 22, 2014) – Missouri ranked fourth in the number of clean jobs announced in the first quarter of 2014, according to a new report from the nonpartisan business group Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2). Across the state, E2 tracked three projects expected to create 449 jobs, with the vast majority coming from Missouri’s wind energy sector.

The Top 10 states in order were: Idaho, Texas, California, Missouri, New York, Kansas, Arizona, Hawaii, New Mexico, and Louisiana.

Missouri – which successfully defended its Renewable Energy Standard at the close of last year’s legislative session – has now been in the Top 10 rankings three out of the past four E2 quarterly jobs reports. However, the unexpected loss of the state solar rebate earlier this year may soften future clean job growth in Missouri.

The complete report is available at www.cleanenergyworksforus.org. For state-by-state details on all clean energy jobs announced in Missouri in Q1 and in previous quarters, see http://cleanenergyworksforus.org/states/missouri/.

“Clean energy is working for Missouri,” said E2 executive director Bob Keefe. “The more folks in the state rally behind these types of jobs, the more businesses will be willing to invest in new projects in Missouri.”

Nationally, nearly 5,600 clean energy and clean transportation jobs were announced in the quarter. The national numbers were lower than the corresponding quarter a year ago, when about 12,000 jobs were announced. Solar was the top sector in the U.S. in Q1 2014, with more than 1,600 announced jobs; however, the solar sector only accounted for 70 jobs in Missouri.

Taking its toll on national-level job growth was a steady stream of well-funded attacks on successful renewable energy standards in other states in the Midwest, including Indiana and Ohio.

There is also ongoing uncertainty surrounding clean energy tax policies at the federal level.

“Congress pulled the plug on smart clean energy tax policies at the end of last year, while in some nearby states, lawmakers are getting bullied by special interests that don’t want our country to produce more clean, renewable energy,” said Keefe. “Guess who’s suffering as a result? American workers and businesses.”

There are three main ways Missouri and its lawmakers can continue to attract clean jobs to the Show Me State.

  • State policy: Missouri must stay the course with its successful RES, which ensures the state will generate at least 15 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2021. Missouri should also reinstate its solar rebate. This rebate, enacted by voters in 2008, has been instrumental in helping drive job growth in the sector. According to The Solar Foundation, Missouri is home to about 2,800 solar jobs and 70 solar companies.
  • Federal tax policy: If Congress acts now to reinstate on a long-term basis incentives like the Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind, as well as other tax credits for biofuels and energy efficiency, lawmakers would have an immediate, positive impact on clean energy job growth. The longer incentives remain expired, however, the more U.S. workers will be left twisting in the wind. (The American Wind Energy Association recently noted uncertainty of the wind PTC has led to the loss of 30,000 jobs.)
  • Carbon Pollution Standards: In early June, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is expected to unveil standards for existing power plants that will for the first time limit carbon pollution, just like the EPA has limits on other dangerous pollutants like mercury and arsenic. These new carbon limits pave the way for manufacturing and power-generation companies in the clean energy and energy efficiency sectors to invest in operations and add jobs.

“If we want to keep creating good-paying clean energy jobs in America, our elected officials need to do their jobs first. They need to support these smart policies that will help our economy while also helping our environment,” Keefe said.

The largest project E2 tracked in Missouri was the announcement of Element Power’s wind farm in Holt County near the northwestern corner of the state. The $400 million wind farm is expected to create more than 300 construction jobs. It will include about 100 turbines that will help local farmers maximize revenues for their land and provide clean, renewable power for the region.

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Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) is a national, non-partisan group of business leaders, investors and others who promote smart environmental policies that drive economic growth. Our members, active in nearly every state in the country, have built or financed more than 1,700 companies that have created more than 570,000 jobs, and manage more than $175 billion in venture and private equity capital. For more information, see www.e2.org.