Where are all those green jobs?
Despite an optimistic report from the Long Island Association, green jobs are not so easy to find.
In Babylon, the town’s pioneering “green homes” program has been torpedoed, and with it lots of green jobs. Federal housing regulators—concerned about compounding their mortgage problems—blocked Babylon’s program that lets residents repay the town for weatherizing their homes. We hope Babylon Supervisor Steve Bellone overturns the ruling with his lawsuit.
Another setback for green jobs came when the Long Island Power Authority recently ran out of funds to subsidize installation of solar energy in homes, funds raised through charges added to electric bills. Thanks to an $8.3 million federal grant, LIPA will soon restart the solar program.
And there’s good news at Brookhaven National Laboratory, where ground is being cleared for a massive solar project for LIPA. So research—at BNL and Stony Brook’s advanced energy research center—may offer our best hope for green jobs. SUNY Farmingdale will also play a key role in developing a smart transmission grid for hundreds of businesses in Melville.
And, long term, thousands of green jobs could be created to construct a huge offshore wind farm under study by LIPA.
But while forecasts for green jobs are promising, some worry that higher energy charges used to subsidize solar and wind power in New York might actually drive jobs away. They fear companies will move to states offering cheaper power.
Policymakers need to address these concerns. Even with all these promising prospects, it’s still not easy being green. Not if you’re looking for a job.