While we see renewable energy jobs increasing, it's important to keep in mind that for every dollar we spend, China spends $3 on renewable. If we want to stay competitive in the global market, we need to match their spending and increase the amount of labor in the market as well. The more green energy jobs we create, the better equipped we'll be for the change in energy following climate change.
Here are four ways that renewable energy jobs change the economy.
1. Revitalize Manufacturing
In several parts of the country, cities and towns were built around manufacturing jobs or the energy industry. Throughout the 70s, 80s, and 90s, those jobs flew the coop to cheaper labor markets, leaving skilled American laborers out of work. This laid the groundwork for social decay, the opioid crisis, and high-crime in rural areas.
To reverse all of that, renewable energy jobs are here to save the day.
Renewable energy jobs can use the space and even some of the equipment that remains in the wake of manufacturing's flight. Instead of manufacturing cars, these plants can manufacture solar panels, wind turbines, and energy storage devices. Those same laborers who've been out of work for several decades have the training to teach a whole generation of workers how to get the job done.
The same people who used to build cars and trucks might have what it takes to build solar panels for your home. The job of installing all of these devices will fall on skilled laborers as well. When renewable energy comes to town, entire regions can enjoy revitalization.
2. Creating The Need for Innovation
In recent years, we've seen some of the major elements of competition and innovation take flight from the country. Market analysts and armchair economists alike know the power of innovation and are clamoring for it to come back. When we have more jobs in renewable energy, we stand the chance to become competitive again.
Renewable energy generation, storage, and transfer hold some of the greatest unsolved mysteries in innovation. Making systems more efficient, able to generate more power, and able to store it better are all problems we haven't perfected yet.
Batteries die, solar cells decay, and electricity loses it's strength as it travels. In order to get the most out of this technology, we need to keep innovating. That will drive employment in research facilities and have investors looking around for startups that promise to solve these problems.
Renewable energy jobs aren't just changing the blue-collar labor market, but they're also changing white collar jobs. With tech stocks being publicly traded, renewable energy companies are now on the market. In tech, startups are constantly trying to outdo one another in generating renewable energy.
Innovation is one of America's best exports and will continue to be as renewable energy continues its steady climb.
3. Open Fields Mean Open Markets
Where once those so-called flyover states were thought to be devoid of resources and reasons to invest, renewable energy flips that on its head. Those big open fields are the perfect place to add solar panels and wind turbines.
There need to be people there to install those solar panels and wind turbines. Places that had high unemployment tend to be those places that are far from metropolitan centers. However, those areas can become economically vivacious regions when renewable energy comes into the mix.
When those jobs appear in remote areas, it totally revitalizes the economy in those regions. Where once there was a lack of investment in infrastructure, social services, and the commercial sector, it now becomes a necessity. Where once we might have seen giant barren fields, we now see money being generated.
The money that's generated from those panels and turbines can then be sold back the grids in larger cities and towns. When power is generated in those areas, it will attract the same kinds of investment we've seen in the past with the energy sector. In previous eras, whole towns and cities were created around oil fields, coal mines, and natural gas.
With renewable energy, people are less likely to suffer the consequences of pollution while also reaping the economic benefits.
4. Changes in Education
One of the major factors in the world of renewable energy is the way that we teach students from kindergarten to post-graduate studies.
In the world of engineering, there's an increased investment in finding renewable ways of generating energy. Once that energy is generated, researchers are trying to find new ways to store it and to increase efficiency. Systems analysts are constantly crunching the numbers to get one more kW of energy out of their systems.
In design, renewable energy and technology is all the rage. From coffee cups to wristwatches, ways to make things out of renewable resources or to have them generate power is changing the design of things. That changes the way things get manufactured and drives up the job market as a result.
In agriculture, the price of energy has always been hanging over the budgets of farms of every size. With renewable energy, tools and equipment stand the chance of being charged up while they run.
Fields in the middle of rotation don't have to sit dormant. They can be outfitted with turbines or panels and store energy.
Every industry stands to benefit from the introduction of renewable energy.
Renewable Energy Jobs Are Vital
As climate change becomes ever threatening to our daily lives, renewable energy jobs are vital to our survival. If we hope to stay ahead of other countries and keep our oceans from swallowing us up, we need to take these jobs seriously. There's no time like the present to invest in renewable energy.
For a list of the fastest growing jobs in renewable energy, check out our latest coverage.