Monday, February 16, 2009

The Latest from the Green Career Front

As readers of this blog know, I have grave doubts about the wisdom of spending big on most Green initiatives except nuclear and fuel cell research.

However, along with big government, Green is the MegaTrend. So, for those who want to ride rather than buck the wave, I asked Carol McClelland, who runs to email me a report on what she found to be new and important at the Good Jobs/Green Jobs National Conference that she just attended. Here are the key takeaways:

Note: All the Doubting Thomas comments are mine, not Carol's.

Smart Grid - To replace our old electrical grid with a blackout-resistant one, a consortium of companies just released The U.S. Smart Grid Revolution: KEMA's Perspectives for Job Creation that "estimates up to 280,000 new jobs can be created directly from the deployment of Smart Grid technologies."

Greenhouse Gas Management. The Obama Administration and liberal Congress will likely impose cap-and-trade restrictions on businesses. That creates a need (well, a want) for experts at assessing how much carbon a company emits. The GMG Management Institute offers courses.

Wind. A short construction cycle means that wind turbines can start producing clean energy just six months after construction begins. Of course, wind-power's low yield of energy relative to its cost of generation and transmission likely dooms it to being just a bit player in the total energy solution but it's an ObamaPriority in the just-passed stimulus package and in future Obama/Congress spending sprees, so many wind jobs should be created. For more info on wind from its advocates: on the bottom of the page to enlarge the map of current wind manufacturing facilities.)

Green Hospital Construction and Retrofitting. For info: Practice Greenhealth or attend the upcoming CleanMed2009 Conference.

Energy Efficiency. Obama's stimulus package will help companies that make buildings more energy efficient. Green building supply manufacturers should benefit and building contractors better be offering a green menu or risk losing out on the fad (oops, trend.)


BeyondGreen said...

There could be no better investment in America than to invest in America becoming energy independent! We need to utilize everything in out power to reduce our dependence on foreign oil including using our own natural resources. Create cheap clean energy, new badly needed green jobs, and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. The high cost of fuel this past year seriously damaged our economy and society. The cost of fuel effects every facet of consumer goods from production to shipping costs. After a brief reprieve gas is inching back up. OPEC will continue to cut production until they achieve their desired 80-100. per barrel. If all gasoline cars, trucks, and SUV's instead had plug-in electric drive trains, the amount of electricity needed to replace gasoline is about equal to the estimated wind energy potential of the state of North Dakota. There is a really good new book out by Jeff Wilson called The Manhattan Project of 2009 Energy Independence Now.

Frustrated Fed said...

Hello Marty,

I am a federal employee, and I share your skepticism regarding "green jobs." In addition, would you please fix the link for your recent radio show with Kathryn Troutman? I would be interested in hearing her comments. I have been with the fed for two years and have tried to introduce money-saving, best practices. Here was the reaction from management: I was threatened with termination during my probationary period. I passed probation, but the atmosphere is extremely hostile. I believe management is threatened by anyone who wants to work hard and increase efficiency. I know you touted program and management analyst positions on an earlier show. However, the same is true for those jobs. The analysts I know are extremely frustrated because they receive no training and their suggestions for improving government are met with hostility. The atmosphere is extremely chaotic! My network tells me this is rampant throughout government and no one seems able to recommend an agency that functions efficiently. By the way, I am a writer/editor.


Archivist said...

BeyondGreen,I agree.

It is most frurstrating that we have been hearing about the need for alternative sources of energy since the Ford administration. One would have thought that the odd-even days of buying gas and the oil embargo would have spurred a market demand. The principal reason we need to shed our dependence on OPEC is, and has been, national security. Gone are the days when the Seven Sisters of big oil, working with the CIA, could insure a steady supply of gasoline to all Americans. The Mideast is a powder keg. Sadly
Obama refuses to sell his proposals by invoking the thing that matters about all else our national security.

Of course, the husband of our Secretary of State accepted $10 million from the Saudis for his presidential library. Hmm . . .

Marty Nemko said...

Thanks for letting me know about the nonexistent link. That means the station forgot to upload it after the show. I'll remind them.

I am saddened to hear it, but as I've written, not surprised. Government workers tend to be bad because they attract many people who want to work there because it offers job security. Good workers don't worry as much about that. Also, because they have so much job security, they know they can be lazy and get away with it.

Marty Nemko said...

Yes, we need energy independence.

The reason the market hasn't embraced solar and wind is because the physics behind them, for the foreseeable future, make them only bit-players in acquiring energy independence. The clean energy source that WOULD greatly enhance the U.S.'s energy independence is the one that China and Europe have embraced wholeheartedly but where Greenies in the US have perpetrated all sorts of unfair propaganda against it: nuclear.

Dave said...

Here's an interesting article on space-based infrastructure for harvesting solar power:

I'm surprised this would work. How much energy would a 'low-powered' laser beam need just to channel it to Earth?

Here's an interesting interview on it:

Marty Nemko said...

Thanks, Dave. I should never forget the potential of technology to solve. I have been dubious of solar's potential as a major player in solving our energy needs, but perhaps a Space Farm approach could work. It's had to imagine, though, that the cost of building, maintaining (they'll degrade with the heat) and the transmitting the energy from space (with its attendant heat loss) wouldn't be deal killers. But I'd love to be proven wrong.

Dave said...

That's a good point. I never thought about the degradation. The cost of maintaining and replacing the hardware would be enormous.

My concerns:

1. Vulnerablity to space debris. There's a lot of it floating around - 50 years worth.

2. Weaponization of space. The US and the Soviet Union experimented with space-based weapons in the 1960s. Anti-satellite weapons (ASAT weapons) have been around for decades and they're easy to build. These space farms would be easy targets. Talk about an energy crisis!

It's not hard to disguise an ASAT weapon. The Soviets did it in the 60s.


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