The Shumlin administration Monday released a report trumpeting job growth in the state's renewable and energy efficiency sector.
Employment in Vermont's clean energy sector grew 3.4 percent in the past year, according a report prepared for the Department of Public Service. State officials say the growth is the result of state policies that finance renewable energy projects and subsidize energy efficient appliances.
"This is not only about moving from oil to other ways of powering the future for our planet, it's also about growing jobs and economic opportunities for Vermonters," Gov. Peter Shumlin said at a news conference at a Blodgett Supply Co. distribution center in Montpelier.
Shumlin promoted Vermont's second-lowest unemployment rate in the country by pointing to the 15,000 workers in the clean energy sector as an example of the industry's impact on job creation. An additional 1,832 workers are expected be hired in the industry over the next year, the report states.
Monday's news conference was the first stop in the governor's "Solar Summer Tour," which is designed to highlight state policies that have created jobs and cut greenhouse gas emissions.
The department's report says Vermont has more than quadrupled its solar power generation since 2011 and now totals more than 60 megawatts.
But the report does not say how much of this energy is consumed by Vermonters. And critics of the state's renewable energy policies say much of this power is sold out of state in the form of renewable energy credits.
"The unfortunate problem is that Vermont has the most fundamentally flawed renewable energy program in the country," said Kevin Jones, deputy director of the Institute for Energy and the Environment at Vermont Law School.