The Environmental Protection Agency’s commitment to improving environmental conditions across the U.S. has been recently translated into the groundbreaking Clean Power Plan. This piece of legislation is the first of its kind promising to curb carbon dioxide emissions, improve air quality, reduce childhood asthma attacks, and limit premature deaths, all without compromising economic growth.
The focus of the Clean Power Plan is on limiting carbon dioxide emissions by power plants across the U.S. To date, these energy facilities have had unrestricted allowances when it came to their CO2 emissions. By reducing these pollutants, the EPA expects the Clean Power Plan to not only increase public and environmental health, but also strengthen the economy and reinforce the growing clean energy trends across the country.
Expected Increases in Clean Energy Jobs
The clean energy economy is already influencing the U.S. job market, but the influence the Clean Power Plan holds over existing and creation of future jobs is only going to accelerate that trend. There is an estimated potential 25,000 new jobs expected to result from the Clean Power Plan by 2040. The reason for this is twofold. Firstly, the Clean Power Plan requires complying states to ramp up development of renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power. Secondly, such investments in renewable energy infrastructure creates three times as many job opportunities per dollar invested as compared to traditional fossil-fuel-based energy production. Furthermore, clean energy installation is very regionally focused, and money is invested more heavily in local workers and communities as opposed to traditional coal plants which funnel local investments into the pockets of out-of-state mining corporations. The Clean Power Plan promises to bring that investment home, in a cleaner and more regionally profitable manner.
Reduced Energy Bills and Increased Investment
The Clean Power Plan also asks states to commit to regional improvements in energy efficiency, as well as developing new renewable energy sources. The plan encourages states to rethink their electricity infrastructure and processes to increase efficiency and reduce prices for many homeowners. Weatherization programs, demand response, and time-of-use pricing are all potential strategies that will boost productivity, while at the same time reducing waste and costs for residents. Low-income communities in particular are the focus of burgeoning energy efficiency programs. According to the EPA, the Clean Power Plan is expected to reduce energy bills by a substantial seven percent by 2030 which adds up to about $85 per year on electricity alone.
As the cost of doing business drops, the market is expected to fully support a growing interest in clean energy innovations and development projects. As a steady growth trend is noted by venture capitalists, businesses, and entrepreneurs, clean energy is expected to become the next big-ticket item, thus encouraging further growth and innovation. The Clean Power Plan encourages states to take energy efficiency and clean energy seriously, and preemptively focus resources and policy on the support of this growing industry.
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