Brookings Institute Praises Nevada Green Job Efforts2011-07-26 01:33:00
A recent report published by the Brookings Institute praised the Las Vegas’ region’s expertise in green construction, architecture, and solar voltaics, while pointing to high wages and a strong growth rate in the green-collar job sector.
From the Las Vegas Review-Journal:
The local green economy fared better in its growth rate, adding 3,125 jobs from 2003 to 2010, for an average of 5.6 percent annual growth. Only 21 cities expanded their green economies faster in the same period.
Las Vegas also ranked No. 8 for green wages. The city's median annual green-job salary in 2009 was $46,590, compared with a median of $43,133 for all 100 cities analyzed. The city's share of clean jobs offering good pay for modest education was 57.6 percent, compared with 67.7 percent nationwide.
Nevada leads the nation in installed solar energy, per-capita. Thanks to the MGM City Center and other projects, Nevada's workforce devoted to green building is an under-reported strength in our economy. From the Las Vegas Sun:
Brookings senior fellow Mark Muro said Las Vegas has one of the nation’s highest concentrations of jobs devoted to green architecture and construction versus the overall job market. There were 2,507 such jobs in Southern Nevada as of last year, producing a concentration seven times higher than the national average.
What helped make this happen? Innovation end entrepreneurship, powered by public policy. In fact, an adjoining Editorial in the Sun titled, "Nation and Nevada should invest and help spur renewable energy," quotes a Brookings Institution official pointing directly to public policy's role in establishing leadership:
“This is not an area where the public sector needs to get out of the way,” said Bruce Katz, vice president and director of Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program. “Government leaders, at all levels, need to get in the game. Otherwise, we will watch the rest of the world pull away from us."
The report says that local, state and federal officials can have an effect by setting standards to promote energy efficiency and the adoption of renewable energy. Local governments can help speed up permitting and set building standards with energy in mind.
The study shows that Nevada has lots of room to grow, and in many cases, lots of catching up to do. As the Sun says, clean energy is a sleeping giant. It's time for Nevada to wake the giant up!