Arizona has topped a list of clean-energy job creating states for the second quarter of 2014. As Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports, the state’s expanding solar industry is a prime driver of its growing renewables market.
More than 200 jobs will result from a large solar-energy project at Luke Air Force Base west of Phoenix. That, combined with several other similar ventures in the state bumped Arizona to the top of the list compiled by the nonprofit Environmental Entrepreneurs, or E2. According to the group, Arizona announced the creation of about 3,000 clean-energy jobs between April and June.
John Foster is an E2 director and the CFO of energy software services company Nexant.
“My company runs several energy efficiency programs in Arizona that are definitely putting people to work there, but I think Arizona’s solar resources, the potential, may second to none,” Foster says.
In the second quarter of 2014, fewer than 13,000 clean-energy jobs were announced in the U.S., a fraction of the nation’s total job creation. But, E2 executive director Bob Keefe says the sector has consistently expanded despite the recent recession.
“Clean energy jobs are growing again. The jobs announcements that we saw in the second quarter were double the number of announcements we saw in the first quarter of this year. These are no longer the jobs of the future, these are the jobs of today,” Keefe says.
Keefe also cites APS customers’ abilities to sell excess solar energy back to the grid in Arizona as another catalyst for renewable energy in the state.