All of us need to have our cake and eat it, too. Unfortunately, it’s just not realistic to expect we will benefit from the best of the opportunities in the energy sector without dealing with among the drawbacks. The petroleum industry provides quite just a few jobs to people in the Lone Star State. As the world undergoes the required transition to alternative energy, some of those and other jobs shall be lost.
No one is happy about power plants spewing gases into the Earth’s atmosphere, but it’s an unavoidable side effect of modern living. Legislation designed to combat climate change, the Waxman-Markey Bill passed in 2009, will likely cost some Texans their jobs. In line with Tom Fowler, a columnist for the Houston Chronicle, this number is pretty large: between 170,000 and 425,000. In the identical column, however, Fowler cites statistics from Luke Metzger, the director of Energy Texas, who notes that Waxman-Markey will help create 20,000 new jobs in green energy.
This is the unpleasant push and pull that will likely shape the discussion about Texas energy, and energy around the remainder of the country. Good news will always accompany the bad. Sure, it is sad to see those familiar oil derrick jobs go the best way of the dodo. It’s just as exciting, however, to contemplate the possibilities granted us by emerging technologies. For instance, the IC2 Institute at the University of Texas at Austin released a study that estimates that the Lone Star State could benefit from 123,000 jobs by 2020 if it continues to take the lead in the sector of solar power. These kinds of jobs are particularly desirable because they’re high-wage occupations that can’t be outsourced. The benefits can be felt across the state, as well; large solar farms may very well be placed in West Texas, silicon plants could be built along the Gulf Coast and manufacturing centers would boost the economy of Central Texas.
In late 2009, a cap-and-trade climate bill co-sponsored by California’s Barbara Boxer inspired oil refiners to fear massive job losses as they struggle with revenue losses and new restrictions. That’s the possible dark side. A new York Times article on the subject presents the possible bright side. David Foster, a spokesman for the Blue Green Alliance, estimated that mandating using renewable energy at a meaningful level would create a total of 850,000 manufacturing jobs within the United States. (Let’s face it; the country can use the entire manufacturing jobs it may get!)
Renewable Texas, an online site that is the work of Alliance for a Clean Texas (ACT), emphasizes that capitalizing on the wind power possibilities possessed by Texas will create 83,000 Texas energy jobs while decreasing pollution and improving American energy security. The group points to events in Nolan County as an example of the job possibilities that might be ushered in by an increased concentration on wind power. Even though the county has only been in the wind business since 2001, the county produces 2,500 megawatts of wind power; as of 2009, this was greater than any other state in the Union. The county enjoys an increased tax base, but the workers in the realm benefit from the 1,124 jobs directly related to the wind industry. The payroll for these jobs amounts to $45 million per year. These numbers could be a boon to nearly any county in Texas.
Everyone fears change, and this reluctance to shape a brand new America is particularly strong relating to jobs. Above all, you and I want to place food on the table and provide for the people we love. Once we put aside our fears and figure out tips on how to capitalize upon the opportunities presented by alternative energies and we will all get near the new and better world that is already so close.
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