The clean energy economy, still in its infancy, is emerging as a vital component of America's new economic landscape. That's the finding of The Clean Energy Economy: Repowering Jobs, Businesses and Investments Across America, a groundbreaking analysis by The Pew Charitable Trusts that sheds light on an increasingly important part of the nation's economic recovery.
Pew counted actual jobs, companies and investments in every state and the District of Columbia aimed at developing clean, renewable sources of energy, increasing energy efficiency, reducing greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming, and conserving water and other natural resources. We found that jobs and businesses in the emerging clean energy economy have grown at a faster rate than U.S. jobs overall. And they are poised for even greater growth, driven by increasing consumer demand, venture capital infusions by investors eager to capitalize on new market opportunities, and policy reforms by federal and state lawmakers seeking to spur America's fiscal recovery, reduce our dependence on foreign oil and protect the environment.
Across the country, state lawmakers also are pursuing the dual goals of economic growth and environmental sustainability. A growing number of states are implementing policies to capitalize on the clean energy economy, from renewable portfolio and energy efficiency standards to financial incentives for public- and private-sector innovation and investment.
At the federal level, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provides tens of billions of dollars to bolster those efforts. But to realize the clean energy economy's full potential, federal leaders must do more. The nation needs a comprehensive, economy-wide energy plan, a market-based system that will significantly reduce emissions that cause global warming and derive more of America's energy supply from clean, renewable sources. Strong federal policies will accelerate the growth of this economic sector by generating jobs and businesses that develop clean energy and increase energy efficiency.