Making Green by Going Green: New Hampshire and Renewable Power

In The Economic Impact of Renewable Energy, Steven Lacey of Renewable Energy Access  examines the economic impact of New Hampshire’s moves toward a renewable portfolio standard (RPS).  An RPS creates a standard for a certain percentage of energy (electricity) to come from renewable sources. Lacey’s conclusion — based on work done by the University of New Hampshire — the future is good, the RPS should have positive impacts on New Hampshire’s economy (even without considering secondary benefits, like reduced pollution).

A University of New Hampshire study released this February titled, “Economic Impact of a New Hampshire Renewable Portfolio Standard,” concluded that an adoption of 20 percent renewable energy will create thousands of jobs with wages much higher than the current state average, generate over $1 million in state revenue, and provide a “newfound opportunity for NH residents to start businesses.”

Ross Gittell and Matt Magnusson, the two research leads, concluded:

A New Hampshire renewable portfolio standard (RPS) can:

  • Help diversify New Hampshire and the region’s power-generating capacity and reduce dependency on imported sources
  • Increase the potential for new renewable energy development within the state and help support the continued operation of existing renewable energy resources

There are costs associated with a RPS; however, the net economic and environmental benefits are expected to be positive for New Hampshire.

Gittell/Magnusson estimated 1100 full-time jobs and $1 million in annual additional tax revenue by 2025.

This study echoes others done over the years.  The Renewabl and Appropriate Energy Laboratory (RAEL), UC-Berkeley, did a meta-analysis in 2004:

examined 13 studies on the economic benefits of renewable energy, approximately 240,000 jobs could be created and maintained if the country passed a 20 percent by 2020 RPS. If the U.S. relied solely on fossil fuels, the country would only maintain around 75,000 jobs.

Thus, a national RPS standard would equate to an additional 165,000 jobs over maintaining a fossil-fuel based system.

“We found that you get three to five times the amount of jobs in the renewables area than you do in fossil fuels,” said Dan Kammen, director of RAEL and co-author of the meta-analysis. “The finding was not that there’s some incredibly intrinsic, wonderful feature about renewables, even though I might think there is. It was that these benefits go to the first victors.”

So, who are going to be the first victors? 

Well, when it comes to American wind, perhaps the Europeans

9 responses to “Making Green by Going Green: New Hampshire and Renewable Power

  1. I doubt whether renewable energy source will generate more jobs. Who will emply? Do you really think companies are going to increase their manpower because of higher profit. Not really. They will look for ‘Renewable ManPower’ (I mean robots). Be sure of it.

  2. Shams — Renewable power, writ large, has a different economic structure and path than fossil-fuel systems. Rather than paying large fee for extracted materials, using capital intensive extraction technology, operated by ever fewer people, renewable power requires installation, maintenance, etc — all in the local community. There is no question, within the context of economic analysis, that renewable leads to more local jobs.

  3. I wonder what renewable resources they will be trying to implement by 2020. Will they be building wind farms, solar field, Hydro dams, and where? There was a push to put up some wind turbines in Vermont a couple years ago but they ran into a lot of opposition from local citizens. I personally think it would have been great if it worked out.

  4. Orbiting solar platforms microwaving electricity to the earth.

    The sun always shines at L-5.

    Have to build a skyhook first, though.

  5. This would go a long way toward your goal Darren.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_elevator

  6. Mark — NIMBYism to wind projects is a serious obstacle. Interesting problem in that coal-pollution is invisible to most (those huge smokestacks), yet we all breathe it in. The polling, post installation, is massively favorable to wind farms but there are many ‘not in my back yard’ reactions that inhibit installation. I assume that the 20% will be a wide mix: biomass, solar, wind, new hydro, etc …

    Darren — Space Based Power has been an interesting possibility for a long time. Key challenge: cost per pound to orbit (which is a key overall space challenge).

    Jimmy — thanks for the link. Perhaps the elevator is “the” answer that makes it a doable do.

  7. A Siegel – For installation of power stations/plants surely you will need people. But what about maintenance – you will need only very few skilled people. But nevertherless I am for Green Technology and I think it´s just matter of today or tomorrow, Scientists will certainly find the right replacement of fossil fuel. It´s important because we need to be less independent on the volatile Middle East.

  8. Cost per pound to orbit is the reason for the “skyhook” or Space Elevator.

    The trick is getting carbon nanotubes 22,300 miles long. So far we’re only 22,299.999999 miles or so short of that goal. If there’s a big breakthrough this year, maybe we can knock off a 9 or two from the end. It’ going to be a while, basically.

    Cost per pound to orbit also cut short my childhood dream to be an astronaut…well, that and myopia. But when you can send a 100lb, 5′ tall woman into space who can do whatever a 240lb 6’5″ lummox like me can do, you’ve saved something like $500,000 right there.

  9. Darren — Again, the cost to orbit why “interesting”, rather than deployed, has been for decades.

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