First Up: Community Colleges and Energy Policy
AACC is pleased to offer the SEED Green Action Plan Series, a set of practical guides and actionable steps that colleges can take to not only prepare a skilled workforce, but also to become change agents in regional efforts to develop a green and sustainable economy. For an emerging industry like this—where job growth potential is significant but great uncertainty surrounds market conditions—colleges can be doing a lot now to prepare for promising future opportunities. These action plans, aimed at senior administrators, faculty, and staff, are important resources to ultimately speed the implementation of these efforts.
AACC thanks our action plan collaborators, Second Nature, AASHE, and the Greenforce Initiative, and looks forward to working with all of our colleges in this endeavor.
Walter G. Bumphus
President and CEO, American Association of Community Colleges
Article: Policy and Jobs in Energy Efficiency
Steven Nadel, Executive DirectorAmerican Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, Washington, DC
Investments in energy efficiency are growing steadily and as a result thousands of jobs are being created to design and implement programs and to specify, install, and maintain energy-saving projects. Some of the recent growth has been driven by about $25 billion in energy efficiency funding included in 2009 federal economic stimulus legislation. The last of these funds will be spent in 2012. More importantly for the future, electric and natural gas utilities are investing in programs to help their customers use energy more efficiently. Utility investments in turn are driven by state policy, including state legislation as well as guidance from state public utility commissions (for more information on state energy efficiency policies, state-by-state, see: http://www.aceee.org/sector/state-policy ). My organization, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) estimates that in 2009 U.S. utilities spent $3.4 billion on energy efficiency programs, more than double spending in 2006. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBL – a national laboratory affiliated with the U.S. Department of Energy) estimates that this spending may increase to as much as $12 billion by 2020.
So what types of jobs are being generated? Utilities need staff to design and implement programs. There is also a need for skilled energy auditors, installers, and installation quality inspectors. Installers are needed for home weatherization measures as well as for commercial and industrial lighting, heating, cooling, refrigeration and industrial process measures.
Steven Nadel is the Executive Director of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), a non-profit research organization that works on programs and policies to advance energy-efficient technologies and services.
Article: Prospects for Clean Energy Training Legislation
Laurie Quarles, Legislative Associate at the American Association of Community Colleges, Washington, DC
As concerns about the nation’s economy continue to dominate the news, President Obama and the Congressional leadership have introduced new jobs legislation early this month. In addition to supporting tax incentives for businesses to hire new employees, the Administration is pushing a national infrastructure project designed to repair bridges and highways, support for job training, and clean energy job growth. CLICK HERE for more details.
While it will continue to be an uphill battle to preserve funding for many of the current community college priority programs, including federal student aid and workforce training programs, there is some specific legislation worth monitoring that support the Administration’s agenda. Earlier this spring, Rep. Ben Luján (D-NM) reintroduced the Community College Energy Training Act of 2011, H.R. 1881. This bill would provide significant support for sustainable energy programs at community colleges.
AACC continues to advocate for this legislation as well as for other initiatives that would help colleges launch or expand successful training programs. And, despite economic challenges, many community colleges have developed cutting-edge training programs that are garnering local and national media attention.
Laurie Quarles, Legislative Associate, American Association of Community Colleges
Sample Policy Resources from the SEED Resource Center
The Pew Center on Global Climate Change: Provides one of the best resources available to community colleges for keeping up to date legislation, action and trends in relation to energy efficiency and renewable energy
Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE):Comprehensive source of information on state, local, utility and federal incentives and policies that promote renewable energy and energy efficiency.
Report – Compendium of Best Practices: Exemplary local governments share best practices of energy efficiency and renewable energy programs, lessons learned and the factors that led to programming success.