Clean Line project helped launch Kansas, Missouri into top 10 list of states announcing clean energy projects in 2Q13

For the first time, Kansas and Missouri made the top-10 list of states to announce clean energy projects in 2Q13, in large part due to the Clean Line Energy Partners announcement of the Grain Belt Express Clean Line transmission upgrade project, according to Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2).

The $2bn project, E2 added in its Aug. 28 “Clean energy works for us: 2013 second quarter clean energy/clean transportation jobs report,” will transmit more than 3,500 MW of wind energy from Kansas and Missouri east to other states. The project is scheduled for completion by 2018, and Clean Line Energy estimates that the project could create 5,500 jobs to plan, build and manage the new line.

According to TransmissionHub data, the 550-mile, 600-kV line begins in Spearville, Kan., and ends in St. Francois, Miss. The Kansas Corporation Commission approved the project in December 2011, and 300 of the 550-mile length will be built in that state.

While California and Hawaii earned the two top spots, Maryland rounded out the top three with a $2.6bn, 20-station, 14-mile expansion to the Baltimore light-rail system’s Red Line, which will reduce carbon pollution and traffic. E2 added that the project is expected to need more than 4,200 construction workers and is set for completion by 2021.

More than 38,600 clean energy jobs and clean transportation jobs connected to at least 58 projects were announced in 2Q13, slightly higher than the 37,400 clean energy jobs that E2 tracked in the same quarter last year, E2 said.

Power generation projects from solar, wind, biomass and other renewable energy sources will create more than 13,300 jobs if all the announced projects come to fruition, E2 said.

Hawaii and Alaska ranked in the top 10 states for the first time to announce clean energy projects in 2Q13, while California led the way in quarterly announcements with 12 wind, solar, biofuels and transportation projects that could cumulatively create more than 9,000 jobs.

Clean energy and clean transportation jobs were announced in at least 27 states in this year’s second quarter. The top 10 were California with 9,169 jobs announced in the quarter from projects in operation, in progress or announced; Hawaii with 5,000; Maryland with 4,400; Illinois with 3,400; Oregon with 3,067; Kansas with 2,758; Missouri with 2,750; Texas with 2,000; Alaska with 612; and Nevada with 580.

Solar generation projects accounted for more than 10,400 jobs announced in 2Q13, or 75% of the jobs announced in the power generation sector and 25% of the total number of jobs tracked across all clean energy sectors in the quarter.

E2 also noted that the United States surpassed 10 GW of installed solar power in the first half of the year.

Jobs from wind power generation projects saw an increase from 1Q13, with more than 2,500 wind power generation jobs announced in 2Q13, compared with about 800 wind jobs in the first quarter, E2 said.

“This uptick is likely due to the extension of the production tax credit (PTC),” E2 said. “However, this trend could be short-lived as the PTC is again scheduled to expire at the end of the year. The cycle of short-term sunset dates for the PTC, coupled with last-second renewals, has become commonplace for the renewable PTC. This has negatively affected growth prospects for the domestic wind industry.”

E2 also said that energy efficiency investments could create thousands of jobs, noting that Hawaii’s 5,000 job announcements come from a $300m initiative to upgrade government buildings with energy efficient appliances, lighting and air-conditioning units. Alaska’s state Legislature recently voted to add $51.5m to the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation’s Home Energy Rebate and Weatherization Program.

Among other things, E2 also noted that clean energy and clean transportation jobs were announced in Republican and Democratic congressional districts across the U.S. in 2Q13.

E2 added that several large project announcements – including major transmission lines, statewide energy efficiency programs and public transit lines that potentially span multiple districts – were not accounted for due to lack of specificity in geographic information of potential jobs. At least nine multi-district projects were announced in the quarter, and that could result in more than 21,400 jobs, or about 55% of the total number of jobs announced, according to E2.

About Corina Rivera-Linares 3106 Articles
Corina Rivera-Linares, chief editor for TransmissionHub, has covered the U.S. power industry for the past 15 years. Before joining TransmissionHub, Corina covered renewable energy and environmental issues, as well as transmission, generation, regulation, legislation and ISO/RTO matters at SNL Financial. She has also covered such topics as health, politics, and education for weekly newspapers and national magazines. She can be reached at clinares@endeavorb2b.com.