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Renewable Energy

AZ Could Create 1.3 Million Jobs By Investing In Green Energy

Grand Canyon, Arizona, USA

Arizona Could Create 1.3 Million Jobs By Investing $15 Billion In Green Energy

A new report from Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) revealed that a major investment in green energy in Arizona could create more than a million jobs – good for the economy and the earth. The report, produced for AEE by Analysis Group – an international economics consultant organization – used an industry-standard modeling tool. It was composed to show how government stimulus funds could be used to help jumpstart Arizona’s economy in the wake of COVID-19.

The report found that investing $15 billion “in Arizona, allocated across a range of advanced energy technologies, would produce the following economic benefits:

  • Adding a total of $209 billion to Arizona’s economy (Gross State Product), a 14-fold return on the public investment.
  • Attracting $39 billion in complementary private investment, a contributor to GSP impact above.
  • Creating 1.3 million new jobs, measured in job-years, resulting in a mix of short-term construction or installation employment along with ongoing positions;
  • Increasing tax revenues by $10 billion to local and state governments; and,
  • Saving consumers $11 billion in energy costs annually.”

An investment in energy efficiency would create one million jobs, according to the report. Renewable energy would yield 110,000, electric vehicles: 83,000, energy storage: 59,000, transmission, and grid modernization: 32,000, and building electrification investments would produce 26,000 jobs.

According to AEE’s Arizona Jobs fact sheet, as of 2019, there were 69,000 employed in the state’s advanced energy sector, which saw 3.5 percent job growth that year compared to Arizona’s 2.8 percent average.

“As Arizona, like the rest of the nation, looks to recover from the economic impacts of the coronavirus health crisis, this report shows investment in advanced energy delivers huge returns to the state’s economy, creating in-state jobs and adding much-needed tax revenues,” said AEE Managing Director J.R. Tolbert in a press release. “Such public stimulus also attracts billions of dollars in private investment and saves consumers — commercial and retail alike — billions annually.”

$172 billion of the GSP would come from energy efficiency, $17 billion from wind and solar energy, $9.9 billion from transportation electrification, $5.9 billion from energy storage, $3.2 billion for transmission and grid modernization, and $2.4 billion from building electrification investments.

“A greater or lesser level of stimulus investment would result in greater or lesser economic impact,” the report notes. “But our analysis finds that advanced energy stimulus investments can generate a return on investment on the order of 14 times the level of public expenditure for the state of Arizona, adding substantial value to the Arizona economy, creating millions of jobs, and sending additional revenue to state and local governments.”

Renewable energy has already taken off in Arizona. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), as of 2018, green energy comprised around 13 percent of the Grand Canyon State’s electricity net generation. While nearly half of the state’s renewable net generation comes from hydroelectric power – no surprise as the massive, hydroelectricity-generating Glen Canyon and Hoover Dams are located there – solar and wind energy are both on the rise. In 2017, for the first time, solar generation from small and large photovoltaic (PV) and solar thermal facilities bested conventional hydroelectric power. 

Today, Arizona ranks second in the U.S. in net generation from solar only behind California, with solar representing seven percent of its net electricity generation in 2018. For solar energy potential among all states, only Nevada ranks higher than Arizona – and Arizona is also home to one of the nation’s largest solar PV plants – a 290-megawatt facility in Yuma County. Additionally, the state opened its first commercial-scale wind farm in 2009, according to EIA.

“By investing in energy efficiency and renewable energy, while accelerating the shift to zero-emission transportation, we can generate significant economic activity in the state’s hardest-hit communities while also helping Arizona move toward an advanced energy future,” said Tolbert.

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