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As Virginia GOP Fights Clean Energy, MA Creates Thousands of Clean Energy Jobs


Governor PatrickWhile Gov. Bob McDonnell (R-VA) is vetoing bills to promote solar power, Massachusetts is showing Virginians what could’ve been had the state chosen to embrace clean energy.

A new Center for American Progress report details how the Bay State’s clean energy policies have the industry booming, with 64,000 people now working in clean energy jobs in Massachusetts and growing at an annual rate of 7 percent. That’s compared to just 16,907 in Virginia, according to the most recent data I could find in a 2009 Pew report. But even that relatively low number of clean energy jobs dwarfs the number of coal mining jobs in Virginia – just 5,164 in 2011. Across Appalachia, just 59,059 people work in coal mining – and that represents a 14-year high.

Meanwhile, Gov. McDonnell and the Republican-controlled, Dominion Virginia Power-funded General Assembly aren’t just protecting tax giveaways to the coal industry, they’re adding new loopholes to let coal companies like Consol increase their already sky-high profits by polluting more.

Even with a slightly improved 2011 job assessment, “Virginia’s job losses in 2011 were in construction, manufacturing and the information sector” – some of the same industries that would benefit from the move to clean energy. Imagine if Virginia had set strong, mandatory clean energy & energy efficiency standards at the same time Massachusetts did. How many of these stories would we be hearing from across Virginia?

Watch the video:

Cross-posted from The Green Miles

  • Teddy Goodson

    made much of Solyndra’s bankruptcy and the amount of “taxpayer dollars” poured into the company… but studiously failed to link it to the huge number of startups and innovation attempts which likewise have failed across the historical spectrum of venture capital. Solyndra’s failure was nothing unusual, in other words, in comparison to the ratio of failures in any new industry, not even when you consider other industries/businesses initially supported by special government inducements (there were railroads, for example, which did not make it, despite being given public land alongside their routes). A certain ratio of failures are to be expected in a new industry, which, by definition cannot be “a sure thing,” or it wouldn’t require venture capital.

    And, isn’t “creative destruction” and the right to fail one of the basic tenets of the market theory? Why doesn’t that idea also apply to green energy?  

  • kindler

    The unholy alliance of ALEC and Grover Norquist is now targeting state renewable energy laws for elimination.  We need to engage that battle as they move their Republican (and some Blue Dog) pawns into place.