Renewable Energy Creating More Jobs Than Other Sectors - Opposing Views

Renewable Energy Creating More Jobs Than Other Sectors

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The renewable energy sector will create more new jobs in the future than other industries.

Jobs for solar panel installers and wind turbine technicians will grow twice as fast as any other occupation, Quartz reports.

Over the past ten years, solar capacity in the U.S. has increased by an average of 72 percent annually. In 2016, the solar industry employed more than 260,000 Americans.

Growing demand for renewable energy is anticipated to continue this trend. On Oct. 27, St. Louis announced its goal to obtain 100 percent of its electricity needs from renewable sources, like wind and solar, by 2035.

"This is the way of the future," said Lewis Reed, president of the St Louis Board of Aldermen, according to ThinkProgress. "If we want to be a modern city, we're going to have to be a more renewable city."

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Missouri relies on coal for 75 percent of its electricity needs and is home to some of the country's major coal companies. The St. Louis metropolitan area obtains less than 5 percent of its electricity needs from renewable sources, so obtaining its goal is no small feat.

The Sierra Club notes that 46 cities across the country have committed to transitioning to 100 percent renewable energy, inlcluding San Diego, California, and Hanover, New Hampshire. St. Louis is the largest city in the Midwest to set such a goal.

"We’ve seen a lot of support for this in the broader community as well as leadership within the city," Sara Edgar of the Missouri Sierra Club said. “There is a recognition that this is something that will benefit ratepayers, it is something that will benefit public health, it’s an opportunity to create jobs in the region.”

The federal government has started dismantling environmental regulations in a number of areas. On June 1, President Donald Trump announced he would withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement.

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"We have to lead on this, especially in these times that we are in where you see the Trump administration rolling back major initiatives all across the country," Reed added. "Trump and these guys don't even believe in climate change. It is absolutely not fake news. But what that means is that cities, on a local level, are going to have to step up and begin to take ownership of reducing our dependence on fossil fuels."

However, Trump has indicated his determination to support coal companies, arguing that it is important to defend jobs and create new ones.

The U.S. Department of Energy released a plan calling for coal and nuclear companies to receive government subsidies for the energy they produce and the reliability they provide to the energy grid.

According to a non-partisan analysis cited by The Guardian, the plan could cost taxpayers $10.6 billion per year over the next decade.

Sources: Quartz, ThinkProgress, The Guardian / Featured Image: Chris English via Panoramio / Embedded Images: Hillebrand Steve/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service via Wikimedia CommonsSimon Edelman/U.S. Department of Energy/Flickr

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