Archive for Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Growth of green jobs expected

A report said 20,000 Kansans already work in green industries and another 26,000 work in support industries.

May 18, 2010


Related document

Kansas Green Jobs Report ( .PDF )

— There’s a lot of “green” to be made in green jobs in Kansas, according to a survey released Tuesday.

“As Kansas continues to come out of the recession, we now have the tools to take advantage of our opportunities in the green economy, creating new jobs in the 21st century and becoming a national leader in this emerging market,” said Lt. Gov. Troy Findley.

A survey of more than 6,000 Kansas employers found that there are more than 20,000 green jobs, and that number is expected to increase to more than 30,000 by 2012.

“This gives us our first good look at the areas of the green economy where we have jobs today and where we’re likely to grow jobs in the future,” said Kansas Department of Labor Secretary Jim Garner.

Green jobs include the production of renewable energy, increasing energy efficiency, agriculture and natural resource conservation, pollution prevention and environmental cleanup, and clean transportation and fuels.

The green jobs areas expected to experience the largest increase over the next two to three years are renewable energy, 121 percent; energy efficiency, 57 percent; and clean transportation and fuels, 37 percent, the report said.

“The survey shows clearly that the future demand for green skills and knowledge is significantly greater than the current demand,” said Commerce Secretary Bill Thornton. “That is good information to have as we consider future training efforts,” he said


devobrun 5 years, 6 months ago

Surveys, projections, "tools to take advantage of our opportunities in the green economy, creating new jobs in the 21st century and becoming a national leader in this emerging market". Happy talk. Whistlin' past the cemetery.

If there was a real economy to it, venture capitalists would be falling all over themselves to invest. Where else does one put money these days? There is more money in gold, silver, etc than ever before because there is no other market for the money.

Dotcom, a commodity. Telecom, old and conservative. Genetic engineering, please. Nope, there are no competitors for VC right now. If this was a real economic investment, money would be pouring in. If the numbers added up, jobs would be everywhere. Sales jobs, installation jobs, managerial, transportation, jobs, jobs, jobs. Advertising would roll into LJW by the pant-load for opportunities in "green jobs".
Crickets. It doesn't work without government subsidies and the government is broke. We should all bookmark this story for reference in 4 or 5 years when the next survey comes out predicting growth of "green jobs". Yawn.

devobrun 5 years, 6 months ago

existing business, new businesses, emerging business, future businesses, all of them need capital. If the market is growing, then capital is needed. If the demand is there and supply is lagging, grow.

If the long term demand is there, even though current demand isn't yet, then grow to limit future competition. Establish yourself in the market as the preeminent producer of technology, sales, distribution, whatever. Those things aren't there.

The money is not rushing in. Is there a business here? Yes, because of environmentalist marketing. Will it last? Yes, if feelings continue to be conflated with thinking. As long as people really, really want an alternative energy source, there will be a market for green.

As long as there is physics, VC will stay away.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 6 months ago

Today, it's T. Boone Pickens, the 80-year-old oilman. In ads on CNBC and CNN and in newspapers—and before NEWSWEEK's editors—Pickens laid out his plan to stop the madness of spending $700 billion each year on foreign oil. "We have to take control of our own destiny as far as foreign oil is concerned." But unlike Perot, Pickens isn't interested in public office. Now running a hedge fund, and a big investor in wind energy, he's going green to make green.

7/10/08: NEWSWEEK business and technology editors met with Texas oil magnate T. Boone Pickens to discuss his plan for fighting America's dependency on foreign oil.

Drawing pie charts and crude maps on a whiteboard, Pickens shows how the United States' need to import 70 percent (and rising) of the oil it requires has been a national disaster. Short term, Pickens believes we should drill everywhere we can. "But don't stop there, because we must do everything." That includes conservation, ethanol, nuclear and renewables.

His big idea? Harness the mighty wind that sweeps through his beloved Texas and Oklahoma—and the rest of the Great Plains—and use it to displace natural gas as a fuel for generating electricity. That would free up the plentiful domestic source—"the only fuel that would help with our transportation system right now"—to power cars instead of turbines. That would reduce the need for imported oil by 38 percent, saving about $300 billion per year.

Of course, it's not that simple. Building the infrastructure to allow for (a) the transmission of electricity from the Great Plains to population centers, and (b) the use of natural gas as a mainstream transportation fuel would require massive investments. The car-crazy United States has only 142,000 vehicles that run on natural gas.

But given the potential benefits, government should step in. "This has to be done with the urgency that was used when Eisenhower built the interstate highways," says Pickens.

Pickens isn't waiting for the government. He's buying a Honda Civic GX, which runs on natural gas. And he's building a $10 billion wind farm in the Texas panhandle, where he's persuading neighboring ranchers to plant turbines in their fields.

But even Pickens isn't averse to the sort of NIMBY-ism that has impeded new energy infrastructure. "There are no turbines on my ranch, because I think they are ugly."

© 2008

devobrun 5 years, 6 months ago

Pickens knows that natural gas is the energy of the next decade. He has investors and heirs that will use the natural gas investments to reap billions.
The windmills churn out energy in proportion to wind velocity cubed. That is wind velocity to the 3rd power.

Most of the time the windmills sit there and gather government money while the natural gas produces the electricity. The politics is satisfied by the wind (isn't it always) and the energy is satisfied by the natural gas.

Notice the beautiful commingling of gases.

Notice the commingling of power.

It is downright artistic in its construction. A little bit for the people who feel and a whole lot for the people who need fuel.

devobrun 5 years, 6 months ago

Energy from a windmill is equal to 1/2 mass rate times velocity squared. Since mass rate is density times area times velocity, the net relationship of energy rate (power) to wind velocity is velocity cubed. This means that efficiency is very dependent on wind velocity.

Constant velocity, not peak or average velocity. Smooth 22 mph velocity. It happens, but not on as great a duty cycle as you think.

devobrun 5 years, 6 months ago

Correction of above: Power from a windmill is equal to 1/2 mass rate times velocity squared. The rest stands.

Lemme show you some numbers.

To reduce the power output from a windmill, the wind must drop by the cube root of 1/2, or about 20%. So, if the windmill is optimized for 20mph, at 16mph the power out is 1/2.

No, I'm serious. Windmills are crap.

Why are they still considered as viable alternatives? It isn't physics. Its feelings. If you fear CO2 enough, or if you fear foreign oil enough, then you are all for windmills.

Sorry, fear isn't part of physics. If it really would be everywhere. We would all be giddy. I am an electrical engineer. I teach high school...doncha think I'd be consulting for about $125/hour?

It ain't there. This article and the promise of alternative energy is mythical and to this engineer, it is mystical. What a bunch of rubes. Smart money sure isn't engaged in it. T. Boone is engaged in natural gas. The windmill stuff is a cover. Ask anybody. He's jobbin' you greenies.

devobrun 5 years, 6 months ago

kilograms per second. Think of your water faucet and the flow of water out of it. When the faucet is on, water comes out with a velocity and a cross sectional area. The product of area and velocity is the volume flow rate in cubic meters per second. Multiply this by the density of water and you get mass flow rate in kg/s.

Wind does the same thing except that air is compressible. So the dynamics of wind are a bit more complicated. However, the net mass of air flowing through a windmill must average to a value related to the cross sectional area of the windmill blades times the velocity of the air past the blades.

devobrun 5 years, 6 months ago

Actually the brain/computer power has been applied to windmills of all kinds and we now have optimal turbine designs and locations. The low-hanging-fruit has been picked.

All the brain power in the world cannot change fundamental physics laws. Mass cannot be created nor destroyed in the turbine. Energy cannot be converted from wind into electricity at an efficiency of greater 45%. These limitations are not yielding. All the feelings and great intentions simply don't change the physics.

And venture capitalists know this. Pickens knows this. He knows that he can buy up land in west Texas and put up subsidized windmills. They won't make him much money, if any. But, he also buys up the natural gas rights and backs up his windmills with hydrocarbon generators. And he makes a lot of money from that for a long time. Far into the future, his legacy will remain.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 6 months ago

Wind energy could supply about 20% of the nation's electricity, according to Battelle Pacific Northwest Laboratory, a federal research lab. Wind energy resources useful for generating electricity can be found in nearly every state.

U.S. wind resources are even greater, however. North Dakota alone is theoretically capable (if there were enough transmission capacity) of producing enough wind-generated power to meet more than fourth of U.S. electricity demand. The theoretical potentials of the windiest states are shown in the following table.

THE TOP TWENTY STATES for Wind Energy Potential as measured by annual energy potential in the billions of kWh, factoring in environmental and land use exclusions for wind class of 3 and higher. B kWh/Yr B kWh/Yr 1. North Dakota 1,210 11. Colorado 481 2. Texas 1,190 12. New Mexico 435 3. Kansas 1,070 13. Idaho 73 4. South Dakota 1,030 14. Michigan 65 5. Montana 1,020 15. New York 62 6. Nebraska 868 16. Illinois 61 7. Wyoming 747 17. California 59 8. Oklahoma 725 18. Wisconsin 58 9. Minnesota 657 19. Maine 56 10. Iowa 551 20. Missouri 52

Source: An Assessment of the Available Windy Land Area and Wind Energy Potential in the Contiguous United States, Pacific Northwest Laboratory, August 1991. PNL-7789

Experience also shows that wind power can provide at least up to a fifth of a system's electricity, and the figure could probably be higher. Wind power currently provides nearly 25% of electricity demand in the north German state of Schleswig Holstein. In western Denmark, wind supplies 100% of the electricity that is used during some hours on windy winter nights.

What is needed for wind to reach its full potential in the U.S.?

A number of factors are needed, including:

Consistent policy support. Over the past seven years (1999-2005), the federal production tax credit has been extended four times, but three times Congress allowed the credit to expire before acting, and then only approved short durations. These expiration-and-extension cycles inflict a high cost on the industry, cause large lay-offs, and hold up investments. Long-term, consistent policy support would help unleash the industry's pent-up potential.

What is the "energy payback time" for a wind turbine?

The "energy payback time" is a term used to measure the net energy value of a wind turbine or other power plant--i.e., how long does the plant have to operate to generate the amount of electricity that was required for its manufacture and construction? Several studies have looked at this question over the years and have concluded that wind energy has one of the shortest energy payback times of any energy technology.

A wind turbine typically takes only a few months (3-8, depending on the average wind speed at its site) to "pay back" the energy needed for its fabrication, installation, operation, and retirement.

Flap Doodle 5 years, 6 months ago

You are forgetting that attribution thing again, bub. Plagiarism also makes the Baby Al Gore cry.

devobrun 5 years, 6 months ago

"Several studies have looked at this question over the years and have concluded that wind energy has one of the shortest energy payback times of any energy technology. "

I'd be very interested to see this energy budget for windmills. Got a link?

Flap Doodle 5 years, 6 months ago

Internal combustion lawnmowers make the Baby Al Gore cry.

ralphralph 5 years, 6 months ago

Not as much as internal combustions leaf blowers.

8ball 5 years, 6 months ago

if i start my 99 weeks of unemployment today, it would run out just in time to get a green job,talk about a summer vacation!

novalissuperstar 5 years, 6 months ago

my very basic impression is that we'll have to massively reduce energy consumption one way or another. conservation, waste management and long term city/economic planning. the Faustian pursuit of growth and endless consumption will have to end one day, better to start planning for it and the mindset that it will take sooner rather than later.

Flap Doodle 5 years, 6 months ago

In other news: “( - Every “green job” created with government money in Spain over the last eight years came at the cost of 2.2 regular jobs, and only one in 10 of the newly created green jobs became a permanent job, says a new study released this month. The study draws parallels with the green jobs programs of the Obama administration.
President Obama, in fact, has used Spain’s green initiative as a blueprint for how the United States should use federal funds to stimulate the economy. Obama's economic stimulus package,which Congress passed in February, allocates billions of dollars to the green jobs industry. But the author of the study, Dr. Gabriel Calzada, an economics professor at Juan Carlos University in Madrid, said the United States should expect results similar to those in Spain: "Spain’s experience (cited by President Obama as a model) reveals with high confidence, by two different methods, that the U.S. should expect a loss of at least 2.2 jobs on average, or about 9 jobs lost for every 4 created, to which we have to add those jobs that non-subsidized investments with the same resources would have created,” wrote Calzada in his report: Study of the Effects on Employment of Public Aid to Renewable Energy Sources…”

headdoctor 5 years, 6 months ago

Using less energy and being more green is a wonderful idea but as we have all seen, reality and economics collide. It would also be wonderful if the so called green industries were really as green as they are promoted. Credit given to those that are more so than the many that aren't even close.

As for reduction in use, more people might be moving to more efficient furnaces, air conditioners, and hot water tanks if it weren't for the upfront cost and long term payback if there is any payback at all. The feel good feeling about going green tends to stop short when they don't have the money to switch or realize that when utility costs rise or that the life expectancy of the those products are not near what many sales hype calculations are based on. People with very large houses may see some early return but not so much with an average house size under 2800 Sq. ft.

devobrun 5 years, 6 months ago

Over the past 50 years, rational thought has expanded to include feelings. Philosophers of old would be outraged, but the modern way of thinking is holistic and not only values feelings, but welcomes diverse feelings as well. Thus, the old paradigm of parsing (reduction) a problem into manageable units has given way to science and engineering that is dominated by wishes and political power struggles. Never mind that windmills are polluting, they are better than oil. Never mind that electricity cannot be stored efficiently, we'll ignore the lost energy in our budget so that we can justify our energy budget. We want, so we will have. Why, if we can put a man on the moon......

Well, there are many things NASA engineers would like to have in order to launch vehicles into space that just don't pass the physics tests. Those limitations stand in the way of NASA engineers from many of their wishes. And similar limitations exist for windmill, solar, and other alternative technologies. But it doesn't stop modern scientists in their quest for energies that don't follow the rules of physics. They have hope, and that is all they need. They will overcome the obstacles with perseverance and commitment.

Sorry, folks, it ain't goin' to happen. Will there be breakthroughs? Yes, but not in wind or solar technology. The energy density is too small for it to happen. Even more disturbing to me than the rabbit-hole-chase of new age engineering is the loss of critical thinking in our world. We allow faulty reasoning because of cultural imperatives. People who never built anything in their lives are commanding science projects on the basis of computer projections. Models that are at once non-scientific and untestable.

This will last a while until rational people see the error of conflating wants, needs, feelings and political victories with the thought process.

devobrun 5 years, 6 months ago

The National Academy of Sciences is a group dedicated to advising the federal government. They are part of the national academies which advise on engineering, medicine science, etc. But they are engaged in just the political-science conflation that I referred to above. They are advising to tax, create a carbon market, and punish coal and oil.
Even if you agree with their prescription, what does the NAS have to do with taxes? Well, science is now activism and policy and emotions and agendas valuing culture and all kinds of things which didn't used to be in science.

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