A collaborative study by three universities concludes that U.S. renewable energy policies could create as many as 1.9 million new jobs around the country. In addition, the study shows that those policies would account for an increase in annual household income of more than $1,000 and that the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) could increase $111 billion by 2020.
While the study has a long-winded title, Clean Energy & Climate Policy for U.S. Growth and Job Creation: An Economic Assessment of the American Clean Energy & Security Act and the Clean Energy Jobs & American Power Act, the news it presents is encouraging.
The model used in the study does, however, make some very big assumptions: that 20% of sales by utilities will come from renewable energy sources by 2020, that a carbon emissions cap and trade system and strong energy efficiency standards will be in place for new buildings and vehicles, and that hundreds of billions of dollars will be spent on research and development in clean energy and energy efficiency technologies (with partial funding through CO2 allowances).
The study was modeled in a joint effort by research teams at the University of California, Yale University and the University of Illinois. It was commissioned by Ceres, Environmental Entrepreneurs and the Clean Economy Network.
Its primary findings conclude "All 50 states can gain economically from strong federal energy and climate policy, despite the diversity of their economies and energy mixes. The states may differ on the supply side, but on the demand side they all have substantial opportunities to grow their economies by promoting energy savings and domestic renewable energy alternatives."
The forecasting model EAGLE was used in the study. EAGLE primarily functions in the area of long-term economic effects of climate legislation on the economy.
Quick Take: We don't question the credibility of the academic institutions that collaborated in the study and we would very much like to see their estimations become reality. But the model incorporated some pretty tall assumptions that are, frankly, just assumptions at this point.
Alternative Energy News article