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Green Energy Jobs

Coal and oil—that “black” stuff—can really lead us to a dark and bleak environmental future when compared with the potential of cutting-edge green energy technology. We all would like the future of our planet and future generations to be as bright as the sun, so working energy jobs on the forefront of the renewable energy sector is imperative if America wants to keep the outlook of the globe rolling in the right direction.

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The benefit of being on the forefront of cutting-edge energy jobs is three-fold:

Energy Jobs and The Environment

You can breathe easier—literally—knowing that green energy sources are paving the way for a healthier future. Natural gas and coal have been linked to health issues, including cancer, brain damage, breathing issues and even heart attacks. Meanwhile, renewable energy contributes to a healthier environment, which, in turn, results in lower healthcare costs.

Hydroelectric, solar and wind power systems, in particular, do not cause air pollution whatsoever. Furthermore, wind and solar energy devices do not require water to operate, so this frees up existing water sources for agriculture and other significant uses. Even though biomass and geothermal energy systems do produce some pollution, the levels produced are nowhere near what natural gas and coal plants generate. Gas and coal plants also use water to operate—especially the process of fracking (which is used to extract natural gas from the ground)—and oil/gas drilling can pollute water as well. Carbon monoxide emissions—which are associated with global warming—are also lower for green energy sources than they are for gas and coal.

The Supply of Energy Jobs

There is plenty of sunshine to go around, and the wind doesn’t appear to be going on strike from blowing anytime soon. Experts say that the supply of green energy sources is strong: In fact, so much renewable energy is available that it easily could supply all of America’s energy needs—and more. Research shows that green energy can provide more than 482,000 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity each year—more than 100 times the amount that the United States currently uses and needs.

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With experts wising up about the ecological benefits of renewable energy sources, companies are also becoming environmentally smarter, which means that more green jobs are surfacing. In fact, each unit of electricity that comes from renewable sources results in more jobs than do fossil fuels.

The most common energy jobs in the green energy sector include wind energy jobs, which range from consulting and transportation to project development, operations/maintenance and wind turbine installation. The domestic manufacture of wind energy equipment, in particular, experienced a jump to 70 percent from 35 percent just five years earlier. Wind energy indeed is the fastest-growing energy technology. While the geothermal field hired 5,200 people in 2010, the numbers are larger for the hydroelectric energy sector (250,000 workers in 2009) and the solar field (100,000 employees in 2011). Hydropower specifically is one of the least expensive energy sources available, so energy jobs are most available in areas such as along the Colorado River, in the Tennessee valley and in the Northwest—where electricity is needed in large amounts.