The San Joaquin Valley is making some marked strides in developing green jobs.
“Many Shades of Green: Diversity and Distribution of California’s Green Jobs” by Next 10 found that the green jobs concentration in alternative fuels in the San Joaquin Valley is three times the state average.
From 1995 to 2008, green jobs grew by 48 percent in our region, with the highest concentration in the field of wind energy. The report also uncovered another interesting trend: when overall job growth in California turned negative during the beginning of the economic downturn (2007-2008), green jobs bucked continued their positive growth.
There is plenty of evidence in our local communities that support Next 10’s findings. Take the Tehachapi Wind Resource Area as an example. It will bring hundreds of high-paying jobs and generate $45 million a year in new taxes by the time it reaches 4,600 MW capacity by 2030. The Hydrogen Energy project in Buttonwillow is bringing 1,500 construction jobs, 100 new operating jobs and several million dollars in annual tax revenues.
Taft boasts a diesel biofuel company and another similar company is setting up shop here as well. We have a 100 MW Solar Thermal Project and several PV solar farms within our region. These businesses and projects will not only provide us with new forms of clean, safe energy, they will also help the residents of our region by reducing their energy bills long-term and creating hundreds of high-wage jobs.
Seeing all these opportunities take root in our area is another reason to support our state’s efforts to increase energy efficiency, build a strong and stable market for clean energy, and grow green jobs through smart policies like AB32. This roadmap to a clean energy future could increase household incomes by $48 billion and create as many as 403,000 jobs in California. Based on this data, it is clear to me that we don’t need to abandon our economic roots in order to grow new ones.
In Taft and Kern County, CA, we cherish our oil heritage and embrace the clean energy future that will create significant new economic engines for the region and perhaps create exciting new technologies that will lead the Nation!
Bob Gorson is the City Manager of Taft. He is a regular contributor to PublicCEO.com.