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Back in January, Bloomberg New Energy Finance predicted that 2012 would be a low year for clean energy investments. Now it’s October, and the latest numbers prove their predictions right. Third-quarter 2012 global energy investments are five percent lower than second-quarter, and a full 20 percent lower than this period in 2011. What does this mean for energy jobs, and the development of renewables projects in the near future?
What it means is that new orders for wind and solar farms aren’t being placed very quickly and won’t pick up right away. This could slow the creation of clean energy jobs.
It means that companies hurried to meet the requirements for the wind power production tax credit before the upcoming expiration date, trying to get their projects off the ground before January 2013, and are now backing off of orders.
It means that energy policies are being questioned not only in the U.S., but overseas, too. Wind energy jobs should be relatively stable for the next few years as projects undergo development, there could be a drop in creating energy jobs after that.
But while Bloomberg’s New Energy Finance chief executive, Michael Liebreich, isn’t thrilled with the results, he’s not devastated, either. “The fact that 2012 looks like a down-year is disappointing, but not surprising.” Nor should it be exaggerated. While five percent looks like a steep drop on a graph, third-quarter investments overall were still higher than $50 billion. That’s about the same amount that was invested during all of 2004.
To compare, in 2004 there were only 2,500 manufacturing wind energy jobs. In 2012, there are over 30,000.
In the big picture, the trajectory for wind energy jobs and development is up. Slumps are only to be expected.
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