The Green Jobcast #29 – Solar/Biofuels/Wind/Smartgrid

The Green Jobcast, episode 28, is a short news segment with information about green jobs making headlines across the country. This week news about solar jobs & the biggest ever wind farm. (download mp3) (3 min)

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Construction of what could become the largest wind farm in the world will begin in eastern Oregon after the U.S. Air Force said it will no longer block the $2 billion project over concerns about radar interference. Oregon officials announced construction of theShepherds Flat wind farm project can begin on schedule in May.

The project calls for building 338 wind turbines on 32,000 acres in remote areas of Gilliam and Morrow counties. The project is expected to bring more than 700 construction jobs to Oregon and create a clean renewable energy system capable of generating 845 megawatts of power which is the equivalent of a nuclear plant. Caithness Energy is the New York company developing the project. GE will supply the wind turbines. According to an AP article, “Ross Ain, Caithness executive, said work will begin in May with completion expected before the end of 2011. In addition to the local jobs, Ain estimated the project will add about 16,000 jobs nationally, including manufacturing, fabrication and transportation.”

In solar news…Southern California Edison and SunLink, a solar manufacturing company, have agreed in terms for SCE’s massive new solar project. The project will assist in the installation of nearly 50 megawatts of solar panels in the San Bernardino and Eastern Los Angeles counties by this time next year. The project represents nearly 20 percent of SCE’s projected 250 megawatts of solar installations, which will be installed over the next five years.

The project should create an estimated 800 future jobs in California in the next few years. For more information on SCE and their future projects, you can contact the company here. You can also contact SunLink here for other solar opportunities.

Colorado governor Bill Ritter said at a speech last week in Washington, D.C at the GJGJ conference, that his new energy economy is producing results, including 2,500 jobs from Denmark-based Vestas Wind Systems, which made Colorado its North American manufacturing hub, and 700 jobs from SMA Solar, which is opening a manufacturing plant in Colorado this summer, its first outside Germany.

In biofuel news …there is growing concern that more jobs are being lost due to Congress’ inaction on renewing the $1-a-gallon federal biodiesel tax credit.

At The Maple River Energy biodiesel plant near Galva, Iowa. 12 of the facility’s 18 employees are being laid off until the biodiesel blenders credit is reinstated: …About 2,000 biodiesel jobs have already been lost this year in Iowa. The IRFA warns those layoffs could become permanent if Congress doesn’t act soon. Some leaders have promised the bill will be considered before Memorial Day.

Finally …Duke Energy to create Smart Grid jobs…Duke Energy will now be the proud recipient of $204 million from the Department of Energy, or “DOE,” the company reported today, after finalizing the agreement. The funds will be put towards the company’s smart grid projects in its five-state service territory including Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky and the Carolinas.

Specifically, Duke will use the maximum about of funds allowed per project under the DOE Smart Grid Investment Grant Program – $200 million – to modernize the company’s power distribution system.
The remaining $4 million will go towards the installation of digital equipment on the Carolina’s transmission system. According to company officials, both projects aim to save and/or create 1,000 new jobs and stimulate the economy. Gianna Manes, Duke Energy senior vice president and chief customer officer, said that the stimulus money will help maintain leadership in modernizing the electric grid while simultaneously revitalizing the nation’s economy.

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