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Environment & Energy

Economic Benefits Of Renewable Energy?

Roland Peschetz

The EPA’s Clean Power Plan is the cornerstone of President Obama’s climate action plan. Four hearings are being held in four different cities: Atlanta, Washington D.C., Denver, and Pittsburgh.

During these hearing, environmental, business, and health experts will share their opinions on whether the gains that the plan gives the country are greater than the sacrifices that will need to be made.

To examine this issue from an economic standpoint we had Communitopia president Joylette Portlock and Blue/Green Alliance executive director Kim Glass stop by our South Side studio.

Portluck said that even without the new regulations, the coal industry has been shrinking its workforce.

“I would start by saying that the coal industry has been reducing jobs for the past several decades as automation becomes more common. So it’s not necessarily that this is an industry that’s going to be growing and creating new jobs in the near future… We have many more sources here in the renewable field than people commonly think of… there has been at least one study out of Carnegie Mellon University that said Pennsylvania is one of the best states in the nation for building out wind and solar.”

Glass added that manufacturing the materials for wind turbines and solar panels would create jobs.

“I think, beyond wind and solar which can be a significant opportunity for job creation and also creating the inputs for wind, the steel that goes into them, the aluminum those are downstream jobs that are going to support a lot of workers in this country.