The 28th Constitutional Convention of the Canadian Labour Congress was held in Toronto from May 8 to 12, 2017 under the theme “Together for a Fair Future”. The agenda was packed – including equity issues, younger workers, putting an end to precarious work, and the fight to implement a $15 minimum wage. Executive officers were elected, and Hassan Yussuff was acclaimed as President for a second mandate – all serving from 2017 to 2020. On May 10th, the Convention addressed the issue of climate change, and heard from a Green Jobs Panel, consisting of Sharan Burrow of the ITUC, Sheila Watt-Cloutier from Inuit Circumpolar Council, Matt Wayland of the IBEW, and Patrick Rondeau of the FTQ, with Rick Smith of the Broadbent Institute moderating. Although no documents have been posted to the CLC website yet, a Unifor press release states: ” … As one of the greatest challenges facing workers in Canada the Convention adopted a plan, outlined in the Green Jobs for a Fair Future policy, to guide the country through a necessary just transition to a green economy. Unifor’s delegation voted overwhelmingly to support the position paper and delegates pledged to take action for just transition…The policy paper calls on the CLC to lobby and work towards green jobs in home and building retrofits, expand public transit, ensure responsible resource development, and at the core, just transition for workers whose lives are already dramatically changed by climate change.”
Solar job growth is strong in the U.S., according to The Solar Training and Hiring Insights report , released by the Solar Training Network , a program funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative and administered by The Solar Foundation. The report aggregates data from several sources, including an extensive survey of more than 400 solar installers, as well as smaller case studies and in-depth interviews with dozens of solar employers, trainers, and workforce development boards in the U.S. Amongst the findings: Solar employers expect to add 26,258 positions in 2017, a 10% growth in the workforce; the largest growth in the industry has occurred in installation, with 93,199 installation-related jobs added between 2010 and 2016; average wage range for an inexperienced, new installer was $10 – $23, progressing to $20 – $48 for a crew-leader; 77% of industry respondents did not have formal mentorship or apprenticeship programs. The report also provides insight into the prevalence and structure of in-house training programs, and employer attitudes to such issues as the importance of experience and certification in hiring decisions.
The 2016 U.S. Wind Industry Annual Market Report, released on April 19th by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), states that wind power added jobs at a rate more nine times greater than the overall economy in 2016; domestic wind-related manufacturing jobs grew 17% to over 25,000 factory jobs in the U.S. According to the Association spokesman, “bigger, better technology enables new wind turbines to generate 50 percent more electricity than those built in 2009 and at 66 percent lower cost … With stable policy in place, we’re on the path to reliably supply 10 percent of U.S. electricity by 2020.” Further, “The average modern wind turbine installed here in the U.S. creates 44 years of full-time employment over its lifetime.” The report also emphasizes the importance of jobs and revenues to rural economies, where wind projects are concentrated. Other reports re wind energy: also from the AWEA, a white paper, Wind brings jobs and economic development to all 50 states ; from Navigant Consulting, Economic Development Impacts of Wind Projects released in March 2017 states that “the U.S. wind industry will drive over $85 billion in economic activity over the next four years while wind-related employment will grow to reach 248,000 jobs in all 50 states in 2020.” The Navigant forecasts measure the impact of the extension of the Production Tax Credit (PTC) programs in the U.S.
At the end of June, the Toronto Renewable Energy Co-operative (TREC) released a report outlining the environmental, social, and economic benefits of locally owned and operated renewable power. The Power of Community calculates the direct and indirect economic impacts of a solar FIT community project and SolarShare power projects in Ontario since the Green Energy and Green Economy Act, and emphasizes the superior results when projects involve community ownership and participation. The TREC report cites a 2016 report published by the Community Energy Association, QUEST, and Sustainable Prosperity. Community Energy Planning: The Value Proposition — Environmental, Health and Economic Benefits reported that, for every $1 million invested in building energy efficiency retrofits, over 9 person-years of permanent employment would be created within the province of Ontario. The TREC report also cites a 2014 study by Institute for Local Self Reliance, Advantage Local: Why Local Energy Ownership Matters, which states that community owned projects in the U.S. generally generate twice the number of jobs as commercially-run projects.
The Link Between Good Jobs and a Low Carbon Future , released in June by the Don Vial Center on the Green Economy at Berkeley’s Labor Center , examines large-scale clean energy construction projects in California. The key finding of the report is that these projects are creating high-paying, long-lasting blue-collar jobs, the majority of which are unionized. The report provides data measuring the quantity of job creation, but also pension and health insurance contributions as well as apprenticeship enrollments for the period 2002 – 2015. The situation is credited to California’s unique Renewables Portfolio Standard, which allows for Project Labor Agreements ( PLA’s) between employers and building trades unions. Read the summary here .
On April 19, with Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna in attendance, Analytica Advisors held a press conference to release their 2016 Canadian Clean Technology Industry Report . This is the fifth report, based on the business results for 2014 and plans for 2015 reported by 107 companies – (the report is available in full only to the participants). Although it includes clean energy generation, the scope of the report also includes energy infrastructure and green buildings, transportation, recycling, water and waste water treatment, and others. From the publicly-available Synopsis, we learn that this broad Clean Technology sector in Canada includes 775 technology companies directly employing 55,600 people, an increase of 11% from 2013. The Backgrounder states that “More people are now directly employed in the clean technology industry than are employed in the aerospace manufacturing, forestry and logging or pharmaceuticals and medical devices industries.” 21 percent of employees are under age 30; 20 percent of clean technology company employees are engineers.
The main focus of the report is on revenues and market share: “after Japan, Canada’s is the steepest decline in global market share among top exporters. For Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency manufactured environmental goods, Canada has lost 39 percent of its 2005 market share and is the biggest loser of market share among the top exporting countries.” The report advises: “To reverse this trajectory and get back to the spectacular growth of previous years will require a price on carbon as well as a rethink of innovation, regulation and green infrastructure policies. Equally important, it will require new models to finance the growth of companies including those with high capital requirements.” Industry associations BC Cleantech CEO Alliance, Écotech Québec, the Alberta Clean Technology Industry Alliance and Ontario’s MaRS Discovery District are co-ordinating their efforts to lobby the federal government for funding, according to a recent Globe and Mail article .
In the U.S., a March 2016 report from consultants Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2), found that 2.5 million Americans work in the clean energy industry. With 1.9 million workers, energy efficiency is the largest sector, followed by renewable energy generation, which employs nearly 414,000 people, and advanced vehicles with nearly 170,000 jobs. Clean Jobs America is based on U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and Department of Energy data and a survey of tens of thousands of businesses across the country. It provides “ a comprehensive analysis of clean energy and clean transportation jobs” across the U.S., providing detailed statistics and an overview of the policies which have encouraged investment and growth, including the Clean Power Plan. The report was written in conjunction with the Clean Energy Trust, The Solar Foundation and Advanced Energy Economy. The Wind Industry Annual Market Report, released by the American Wind Energy Association on April 12, showed a 20% increase in jobs in the past year, with 88,000 at the start of 2016. The national business association Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) is quoted as saying that California leads the U.S. in energy employment with an industry growth rate of 18% last year – six times the overall state employment growth rate . California also ranks first in installed solar capacity and number of jobs, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association , the national trade association.
Fact Sheet: Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Jobs , released in November 2015 by the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI), is described as “a best effort to survey the status of renewable energy and energy efficiency jobs from the data that is publicly available.” The employment statistics are sourced from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), as well as international organizations, national non-profits, think tanks and national trade associations . Most of the international statistics are taken from the IRENA Renewable Energy and Jobs Annual Review 2015 , which estimates that there are 7.7 million jobs worldwide in renewable energy employment. The EESI acknowledges that the statistics are not directly comparable because of the different definitions and methodologies of the sources, and further acknowledges that some statistics are dated because of a lack of more current information.