Ecotech Institute, a college dedicated to training today’s students for the renewable energy and sustainability jobs of the future, launched the ‘Clean Jobs Index.’ The Index aggregates clean jobs data from a variety of source including the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE.)
After gathering the data, each state was given a ‘Clean Jobs Index’ number. The value was derived by assessing the state’s clean energy economy in four key areas: jobs, clean jobs indicators, renewable energy portfolio and financial incentives. Each category starts at a 25 percent weight but if one category has strong numbers, it is weighted more heavily.
Oregon came out on top with the highest Clean Jobs Index – 2.57. Both the Oregon clean jobs indicators and renewable energy portfolio figures were weighted at 30.8 percent while jobs and financial incentives were weighted slightly less than the beginning value, 19.2 percent each.
At the opposite end of the spectrum is West Virginia, with a Clean Jobs Index of .2. The state’s only contributing score was in the clean jobs indicators category.
Seeing the huge discrepancy between the two scores sent me looking for an answer. I found it in the site’s FAQs:
“Why do some states perform so much better than others? - In order to perform well in our ranking system, a state must have clean energy incentives, infrastructure, and practices. They must also have actual clean energy jobs. Not all states excel in all of these areas, but we believe they are all critical to a sustainable clean lifestyle.”
West Virginia, which I immediately associate with the coal industry, is probably not going out of its way to support renewables and so this low ranking makes sense.
In addition to the state-by-state ranking, the Ecotech Institute Clean Jobs Index also includes several other green economy highlights including:
- Number of Clean Jobs in the U.S.: 3,014,785
- Alaska: Number one for clean jobs per 100,000 residents
- Idaho: Generates the highest percentage of energy by renewables at 85 percent
- Minnesota: Number one for renewable energy and efficiency state incentives
- California: Ranks lowest in energy usage per 100,000 residents
- Massachusetts: Ranks highest for energy efficiency