Green jobs no panacea

The state’s alternative energy industry, while critically important to develop, may not be the instant-job creator politicians have pitched.

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Students graduating from renewable energy and energy efficiency programs are finding competition is high for the high-paying, highly technical jobs available in solar and wind technology.

Meanwhile, industry advocates say Oregon and the country as a whole are dragging their feet on long-term energy policies that would allow the job market for renewables to expand.

If you add up all of the people working in conventional energy, from coal miners and pipeline builders to utility employees, there are less than one million jobs, according to Robert Whelan, director of economic consulting firm ECONorthwest. The fact is, Whelan said, the promise of clean energy jobs is touted as being far more than is really needed to sustain the industry.

Read more in today’s Daily Journal of Commerce.