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California solar construction in rising high, prepares new generation of workers

Strong statewide and federal clean-energy policies have positioned California as the nation’s solar energy leader in terms of generating new, well-paying construction and permanent jobs while working to restrain change of climate, The new report by UC Berkeley reveals this.


The Donald Vial Center on Employment in the Green Economy at Berkeley established that California’s use of electricity from renewable sources increased from 11 percent in 2008 to nearly 20 percent in 2013.


In a media, release by UC Berkeley reveals John O’Rourke, 9th District International vice president of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers comment. He said: When we combine high-road construction practices like union apprenticeship with smart environmental policies and green technologies, we can tackle climate change and grow a clean energy economy that sustains working families.” .


The Sierra Club and the IBEW are holding a press event at 9:30 a.m. today (Monday, Nov. 10) at the IBEW-NECA Zero Net Energy Center to argue how these smart national and statewide clean energy rules have led to this hard to considers job growth. An advisor from the White House and this report’s author will attend.


California Construction News

“California has made addressing climate disruption a priority, which has led to a thriving clean energy economy and the creation thousands of new, exciting, and meaningful opportunities for our workforce. This report is proof of that success and an example of how protecting our health and environment creates jobs and boosts the economy,” said Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club.


The jobs include 10,000 construction jobs building utility-scale solar facilities, which are essentially big solar farms that generate electricity and supply it to the energy grid. They are often located in less-populous areas, as opposed to small-scale solar arrays in cities or solar panels installed on rooftops. For several projects, labor and environmental groups, like the IBEW and Sierra Club, have worked together to ensure projects are built in an environmentally-responsible way that avoids harmful impacts to sensitive habitat and creates good-quality jobs.


Other solar jobs involve operating and maintaining the utility-scale plants, which have lifespan of roughly 25 years, pay about $69,000 a year, and include new jobs created up and down the solar supply chain. Recently installed solar farms account for about 75 percent of California’s newly installed, solar power-generated electricity.


The report recommends four key policy actions to build on California’s leadership in this area. They include :

1. Renewing the federal Investment Tax Credit at 30 percent after its current expiration date of December 2016;
2. Expanding California’s statewide renewable energy mandate beyond its current goal of 33 percent;
3. Protecting Assembly Bill 32, the state’s landmark climate change legislation, from implementation delays or weakening; and
4. Promoting collective bargaining and joint labor-management apprenticeship programs on energy projects during construction, operation and maintenance.


Reference : Berkeley News Centre

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