Stimulus and Climate Bills Will Have Positive Impact on Jobs

Two reports issued today by the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts predict 1.7 million new jobs

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Reports issued today assess the probable effects on employment of the U.S. economic stimulus bill adopted earlier this year and the climate bill that the House is expected to vote on soon. One, "The Economic Benefits of Investing in Clean Energy,” was done in partnership with the Center for American Progress; the other, "Green Prosperity," with the Natural Resources Defense Council and Green for All. University of Massachusetts economist Robert Pollin was principal investigator in both reports.

The basic findings of the two reports are that investment in clean energy will add a net 1.7 million jobs to the U.S. economy, that there will be large opportunities for low-income and less-educated people to get onto career ladders with training and better pay, and that the cost of living will be reduced for such people. The number of new jobs generated by the two bills (mainly as a result of private investment)  will be three times what we would get from the same investment in traditional fossil energy, said Bracken Hendricks of the Center for American Progress, in a press briefing today. Instead of investment funds going largely to support fossil development projects overseas, they would go to support job creation in the United States itself.

Regarding methodology, Pollin said in a press briefing today that his team relied heavily on Commerce Department industrial surveys and detailed Bureau of Labor Statistics labor market surveys, as well as government data on housing and transportation costs. For reasons explained in the reports, their estimates of job creation did not include manufacturers of energy-efficient appliances or the auto industry, said Pollin. The reports heavily emphasize energy-improving retrofits in buildings though, Pollin conceded, racially discrimination in construction hiring will remain a problem that needs to be addressed.

 

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This photograph shows a car with the words “We Drive Solar” on the door, connected to a charging station. A windmill can be seen in the background.

The Dutch city of Utrecht is embracing vehicle-to-grid technology, an example of which is shown here—an EV connected to a bidirectional charger. The historic Rijn en Zon windmill provides a fitting background for this scene.

We Drive Solar

Hundreds of charging stations for electric vehicles dot Utrecht’s urban landscape in the Netherlands like little electric mushrooms. Unlike those you may have grown accustomed to seeing, many of these stations don’t just charge electric cars—they can also send power from vehicle batteries to the local utility grid for use by homes and businesses.

Debates over the feasibility and value of such vehicle-to-grid technology go back decades. Those arguments are not yet settled. But big automakers like Volkswagen, Nissan, and Hyundai have moved to produce the kinds of cars that can use such bidirectional chargers—alongside similar vehicle-to-home technology, whereby your car can power your house, say, during a blackout, as promoted by Ford with its new F-150 Lightning. Given the rapid uptake of electric vehicles, many people are thinking hard about how to make the best use of all that rolling battery power.

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