California Rules in U.S. Clean-Tech Jobs Race

by | Oct 11, 2010

The San Francisco Bay Area leads the ranking of the top 15 metro areas in the U.S. for clean-tech jobs for the second year in a row, followed by Los Angeles, according to a report from Clean Edge.

California continues to see fairly robust job activity for both clean-tech startups and established players, with the state’s high-tech giants like Cisco, Intel, and Google aggressively expanding their smart-grid initiatives, says Clean Edge.

San Diego (seventh) and Sacramento (15th) give California four cities in the Top 15, but the state faces an uncertain future if the state’s voters pass a November ballot measure, Proposition 23, that would suspend the state’s landmark greenhouse gas reduction laws, says Clean Edge.

Other leaders include Boston (third), New York City (fourth), Denver (fifth) and Washington/Baltimore (sixth). Houston made the most significant improvement, jumping seven places from 15th to eighth, which reflects the city’s broader jobs boom, says Clean Edge.

The report, “Clean Tech Job Trends 2010,” also highlights the key role that China is now playing in clean energy, including a table highlighting some of the significant disparities between the U.S. and China, and their clean-tech initiatives.

The report details a range of positions and their current median pay levels worldwide, from entry-level insulation worker ($33,600) and solar-energy systems installer ($37,700) to smart-grid embedded systems engineer ($76,500) and senior mechanical engineer for electric vehicles ($91,500).

The report finds that the top five sectors for clean-tech job activity in the U.S. are solar power, biofuels and biomaterials, smart grid and energy efficiency, wind energy, and advanced transportation/vehicles.

Solar power and biofuels and biomaterials retained their top spots from the sector ranking in last year’s report, and new to the list this year is advanced transportation/vehicles.

This year’s list of top clean-tech pure-play employers continues to reflect the global nature of the clean-tech industry, and the emerging dominance of China, says Clean Edge.

China dominates the list, with six of the top companies (including one in Hong Kong), followed by the U.S. with two companies (Itron and Baldor Electric), and one each in Spain and Denmark.

The report also recommends five steps that nation’s should take to build a clean-tech jobs future. These include:

–Deploying aggressive national renewable portfolio standards with “teeth”

–Supporting green infrastructure development

–Implementing and enforcing efficiency, fuel, and emissions rules and standards

–Establishing green banks, bonds, and funds

–Implementing carbon taxes

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