Nice story from E&E recently (linked via the Times) about what Phoenix (and other cities) are doing to draw in renewable energy companies, the jobs that the cities are gaining as a result, and even a hint of thawing in the local political climate:
Eleven solar manufacturers have located to the Phoenix metropolitan area in the last year, partly driven by a renewable-energy tax break Arizona recently passed. But they've also been lured by Arizona's aggressive courtship -- the combined efforts of officials and businessmen to outbid other states starving for jobs….
…The Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC), a public-private consortium, is one of Arizona's salesmen. The group helped bring in the 11 plants that will provide 6,300 jobs and 20,000 indirect jobs….
…[Mike] Skaggs said the first race was when states set their renewable energy targets. The next game, he said, is wrangling for solar manufacturing and R&D, because these are key to dropping solar's cost. The region that does that will have a significant edge in the next round of electricity contracts. He called Arizona "quite aggressive" but said he felt Nevada has gotten its licks in, too. Last October, California-based Amonix started building a solar panel plant in Las Vegas. At full capacity, it should net 278 jobs and produce 150 megawatts a year….
…even the conservative-leaning state Legislature is working with Skaggs on new lures.
There’s also good local article covering the same topic from last month.
Of course, none of this is new or unique -- cities and states have been forever battling each other for local development opportunities. And with the massive job losses in states like Arizona and Nevada, creating any new jobs are critical to the health and economic well-being of the state.
But it definitely provides another great example of the growing clean energy economy, and indicates a increasing acceptance among local government of the viability of the solar sector, and the tangible green jobs created by its growth.
Photo CC-licensed by Green for All.