MONTPELIER -- Representatives of the clean energy industry celebrated today as the results of several studies and polls corroborated Vermont's support for a clean energy future and leadership role in the clean energy industry. Governor Shumlin released the results of the first Vermont Clean Energy Industry Report. The report showed that more than 15,000 Vermonters work in the clean energy industry, which expects to see an additional 12 percent in growth over the next year.
"The statistics are very encouraging," says Gabrielle Stebbins, Executive Director of Renewable Energy Vermont, the state trade association for renewable energy businesses. "Clean energy businesses are strong and growing. Meanwhile, two independent polls show that 86 percent of Vermonter's support the state's goal of getting 90 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2050, while 90 percent believe that making this transition is necessary and important. From every corner of the state, Vermonters are sending a strong message to officials and elected leaders that they want a sustainable energy future. Our officials are responding, and the businesses are too."
Solar electric, modern wood heating, efficiency leaders and others met at Blodgett's Supply in the state capital to celebrate job growth, Vermonters saving energy and keeping dollars local. "It's been clear to those in the market that Vermont's clean energy sector is growing", said Chair of the Renewable Energy Vermont Board, Tom Hughes of Sunward Solar. "The Vermont Clean Energy Industry Report, however, provides verifiable statistics to show that Vermont's recent placement as No.1 in solar jobs per capita, No.2 in solar hot water systems installed, and the lead in farm methane systems is not just anecdotal - it's real."
The Report shows that, of the new employment opportunities in the last year, over 81 percent were new jobs, with the remainder representing new positions for existing employees. It also showed the merging of various business sectors - electricians entering the solar electric market and fuel oil dealers offering their customers more efficient heating systems such as air source heat pumps. "The Clean Energy Industry is not a fringe component of our economy," Stebbins said. "As more Vermonters move towards an efficient and renewable energy future, more businesses are joining the sector as opportunities continue to grow."
More Vermonters are moving towards a clean energy future, as the jobs results show. Similarly, two polls have been completed this June, showing Vermonters views towards clean energy. The Energy Action Network poll, released today, shows that Vermonters want clean energy, and they want it now: 74 percent of those polled agreed that transitioning away from traditional fuels needs to happen as quickly as possible. The Vermont Public Interest Research Group poll showed that support for a clean economy crossed party lines, with 93 percent of self-identified Democrats, 69 percent of Independents and 49 percent of Republicans saying they would view clean energy political candidates more favorably than others.
The Vermont Clean Energy Industry Report will be repeated over the next two years, with other ongoing polls continuing also.