Advanced energy can grow North Carolina’s economy and create good jobs

 

New report shows North Carolina’s utility-scale battery & biogas industries could support 19,000 jobs annually

Raleigh, NC — Building on North Carolina’s strengths in the utility-scale battery and biogas industries can maximize job growth and give the state a competitive economic edge. That’s according to the North Carolina Jobs Project, a new report created in partnership with North Carolina State University’s North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center and led by the American Jobs Project. The report is funded by the JPB Foundation, the Berkeley Energy and Climate Institute, and the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society.

“Our research shows that smart policies and a focus on industrial clusters can allow states to become hubs of innovation and job creation in advanced energy industries that dovetail with a state’s own strengths,” said Kate Ringness, program manager for the American Jobs Project.

“For North Carolina, this approach could employ an average of about 19,000 people annually in the utility-scale battery and biogas industries over the next 15 years,” Ringness said.

Millions of Americans lost good-paying jobs during the recession, and unfortunately, many of the jobs created during the recovery have been in relatively low-skill, low-income occupations. In contrast, the North Carolina Jobs Project proposes innovative strategies and policies designed to create thousands of skilled jobs that pay well for North Carolinians today and into the future and informed by principles of competition, local control, and less red tape.

The report recommends innovative strategies to support job creation by capitalizing on growing market opportunities and aligning manufacturing with critical economic system components, including access to capital, innovation ecosystems, and workforce development.

The North Carolina Jobs Project finds that:

  • In recent years, North Carolina spent up to $27 billion annually importing fuel to the state. North Carolina can keep this money in-state and grow the economy by developing advanced energy industries.
  • North Carolina’s utility-scale battery industry is an ideal mechanism for job growth due to its strong foundation of anchor companies, well-established research institutions, synergy with the existing smart grid cluster, and large in-state potential market.
  • North Carolina’s utility-scale battery industry has the opportunity to employ an average of more than 17,000 North Carolinians annually over the next 15 years.
  • The biogas market is ripe for growth in North Carolina due to abundant renewable locally-sourced fuel, biogas purchase requirements for utilities, significant public health benefits resulting from biogas harvesting, and strong research conducted in the state.
  • The biogas industry in North Carolina could employ an average of over 2,200 North Carolinians annually over the next 15 years.

 
“The American Jobs Project will help North Carolina establish thriving industries around utility-scale batteries and biogas, two critical components of the state’s clean energy economy,” said Kate Daniel, Policy Analyst at the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center. “The report’s recommendations will allow policymakers to foster growth through the interrelated sectors — from agriculture to university research — that support these industries, creating jobs and opportunities across the entire state.”

The American Jobs Project website, which launched this month, features reports on North Carolina and nine other states, as well as a Policy Bank detailing best practices and innovative ideas for advanced energy job growth. To learn more, or to download a copy of the North Carolina report, visit http://americanjobsproject.us/ajp-state/north-carolina/.

About the American Jobs Project

The American Jobs Project brings best practice policy models, innovative ideas, and tools from around the globe to local and state governments and stakeholders, creating bottom-up strategies that create middle-class jobs in the advanced energy industry. Unlike a federal solution, a state-based strategy can readily achieve broad political support if properly framed. We partner with academics at major universities and institutes as well as dozens of local stakeholders in industry, government, and nonprofits. We focus on solutions, taking in to account the nuances of public opinion and political feasibility, knowing that one size does not fit all. This enables local stakeholders to take best practices and innovative ideas and make them their own. The ultimate goal: middle-class jobs for communities at risk, especially those facing changing energy economies.