Dean Suagee: Tribes and the green energy revolution
"On the first Earth Day of the Obama presidency, the White House blog declared that this Earth Day is significant in light of “the president’s goal to create a clean energy economy that can serve as a pillar of our recovery.” Noting that green jobs are a “central focus of the Recovery Act,” the blog proclaims that the president’s budget will “help ensure that new industries around energy efficiency and renewables will become part of the backbone of the American economy for decades to come.”

Renewable energy and energy efficiency will create millions of new jobs in the United States over the next decade. A report commissioned by the American Solar Energy Society projects that, with the right mix of governmental policies, we could have 37 million jobs in our national economy in energy efficiency and renewable energy by 2030. That would mean about one out of every five jobs in the American economy. That’s with an aggressive mix of governmental policies to support green energy development. In the base case, business as usual, the projected number of jobs in energy efficiency and renewables is 16 million by 2030. Not bad, but not nearly good enough.

There are several basic reasons the potential for green energy jobs is so great. Consider: Practically all the goods and services we buy have fossil fuel energy embedded in them somehow; the American economy has been driven by fossil fuels for more than a century, with a lot of waste and room for efficiency improvements; and renewable energy technologies have been making steady progress since the Carter Administration and many are ready for full-scale commercialization.

Also, the “smart grid” (integration of computerized information technology with electric power distribution) will make it easier to integrate distributed renewables into the power grid. Energy efficiency and renewables are more labor-intensive than fossil fuel energy and are less susceptible to out-sourcing, and the renewable resources are here in North America. Finally, there is the climate crisis, which is mostly caused by burning fossil fuels."

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Dean Suagee: Tribal sovereignty and the green energy revolution (Indian Country Today 5/4)