Top 12 State Policies for Greener Jobs and Workforce

At a workshop on green jobs for the State Environmental Leadership Program annual conference in Nebraska last week, two things were clear.  First, state leaders are eager to find ways to bridge beyond the stimulus and other federal funding for green infrastructure and workforce education.  Second, participants recognized that a suite of state policies will be key to creating conditions conducive to growth in green jobs and workforce education in the years ahead.

Drawing on a 2009 study by the Pew Charitable Trusts and other resources, state leaders reviewed at least one dozen policies that can be implemented or strengthened in each state to advance greener jobs and careers, including the following:

  1. State tax incentives (Database of state tax incentives for renewable energy (DSIRE) provides a state snapshot.
  2. Loan financing (Renewable Energy World highlights one model in Illinois, while Pew’s study, the Clean Energy Economy, indicates 33 states have some form of loan financing for renewable energy)
  3. Rebate programs
  4. Renewable portfolio standards (U.S. Departmen of Energy provides an interactive state map)
  5. University R&D grants (University Clean Energy Alliance of Ohio and R&D Magazine’s search feature provide several good examples)
  6. Energy efficiency standards (Pew Center provides a clickable state map with details)
  7. Net metering initiatives (35 states)
  8. Regional climate and clean energy initiatives (World Resources Center’s clickable map)
  9. Vehicle greenhouse gas emission standards (14, plus DC)
  10. Smart grid plans (Lisa Schwartz provides an overview from the Regulatory Assistance Program on the Smart Grid Learning Network at the October 2010 National Governor’s Association Conference)
  11. Energy audit and disclosure ordinances (Carolyn Sarno of the Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnership provides overview of building energy disclosure laws in Washington and New York in August 2010 issue of OnPeak Performance)
  12. State clean energy funds (U.S. EPA’s State Clean Energy Fund Fact Sheet)

Thanks to Jan Jarrett, executive director, PennFuture and Nathan Lott, executive director, Virginia Conservation Network for joining me in facilitating this workshop.