We are faced with multiple crises. COVID-19 must be dealt with. The cimate crisis must also be dealt with now. There are 70 wildfires in dozens of states, a wind tornado in the Midwest and hurricanes are increasing in number and severity. There were recently two storms in Gulf at the same time, which has never happened before. These abnormal climate events are very costly in both lives and property.
Colorado’s eastern plains have yielded economic benefits from the renewable energy industry. In 2010 1,253 megawatts was produced by nine wind facilities. Now another 3,707 megawatts are produced by wind and solar capacity. This industry produced 6,334 jobs, $9.4 billion in investments, $15.2 million in lease payments to farmers and $23.1 million in tax revenue to local governments.
The Wolf administration released the 2020 Pennsylvania Clean Energy Employment Report, showing that clean energy is the leading creator of quality jobs in Pennsylvania. This sector added 7,794 jobs in 2017-19, for an 8.7% average job growth rate, compared to 1.9% average overall job growth in the state.
Investments in workforce training can benefit Pennsylvanians right now and improve livelihoods, the economy and our environment.
In this polarized political environment bipartisan support exists in the House for the Energy Innovation and Dividend Act (H.R. 763). This act would put a fee on energy at its source and pay a dividend to all households. The dividend offsets any increased costs to families. The fee will encourage carbon industries to initiate clean energy projects.
This article originally appeared in the Pittsburg Post-Gazette.