AS PREPARED FOR DELIVERY:
Governor Deval L. Patrick
Clean Energy Jobs Report
Fraunholer Center for Sustainable Energy Systems CSE
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Thank you, Rick, for that generous introduction and for your and your team’s exceptional service to the Commonwealth. You and the people at the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, along with the people at the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development, Alicia Barton and her team at the Mass Clean Energy Center, and the many partners here from private industry have a lot to celebrate. Because thanks to you, the clean energy sector is booming.
Indeed, I am proud to announce today that we have had the third straight year of strong job growth in our clean energy sector. We are up another 11.8 percent since last year. Over the past two years this industry has grown 24 percent, to more than 5,500 clean energy firms employing nearly 80,000 clean energy workers. How about that!
These achievements are not by accident. They result from a disciplined strategy to grow jobs and opportunity by investing in education, infrastructure and innovation.
We invest in education because -- with hundreds of universities and research facilities within an hour and a half of where you’re sitting -- brainpower is our most abundant natural resource. So, we cultivate it by investing money, time and new ideas in the public schools; in public higher ed and college affordability; and in early education.
We invest in infrastructure because rebuilding our roads, rails, bridges, expanding broadband to every community, building new classrooms and labs and more affordable housing gives private initiative and personal ambition the platform for growth.
And we invest in innovation because enabling and encouraging industries that depend on brainpower is the best way for Massachusetts to take advantage of the knowledge explosion happening in the world economy today.
That’s what our nationally-recognized life sciences initiative is about. That’s what our several collaborations with digital technologies (like robotics, big data, cyber security and communications) are about. And that’s why we have made clean energy a core economic strategy for Massachusetts.
Tackling climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions is imperative. The answer lies in innovating both behaviors and technology. Given the scale of the challenge, clean energy technologies will be an economic driver for generations. With a skilled workforce, seasoned venture capital, great public and private universities, and abundant entrepreneurial experience and drive, our state has all the ingredients to seize this opportunity and become the disproportionate commercial winner in the race for clean energy. In other words, if we get clean energy right, the whole world will be our customer.
And it’s happening. By any measure, the clean energy sector is booming.
Engineering and research jobs grew by 32.4 percent. Clean energy manufacturing and assembly jobs rose by 20.6 percent again this year. And 30 percent of clean tech firms surveyed say they have open positions to fill within the next three months.
In May, we ranked No. 1 in the nation for clean tech policy, No. 1 for clean energy investments, and No. 2 for clean tech leadership. (2013 Clean Tech Leadership Index)
We rank first in the nation for investments in energy efficiency, where $2 billion of investment has produced $6 billion in savings and over 46,000 jobs. The City of Boston just today was recognized as America’s most energy efficient city.
We are seeing growth in start-ups and well-established firms alike.
Just around the corner, Next Step Living – an energy efficiency start-up when I took office – employs 500 people today and is listed on the Inc. 500 list of fastest growing companies in America.
So is North Andover-based Panel Claw, whose solar panel mounting equipment business launched in 2008 and had revenues in excess of $30 million last year.
Digital Lumens – from whose CEO, Tom Pincince, we’ll hear in a moment -- has developed energy efficient lighting systems that have cut their customers’ energy use by 90 percent. They started in 2009, employ more than 60 workers today, and efficiently light 500 facilities around the world.
And like I said, it’s not just start-ups who are seeing and seizing these opportunities.
A.R. Sandri bought his first gas station in downtown Greenfield in 1931, launching a family business that grew to serve thousands of home heating oil customers. In 2008, when oil prices spiked, Sandri expanded into residential solar electricity, solar hot water, and biomass heating, and retrained its workers, shifting its focus to clean energy services. Now, Sandri has joined our clean energy revolution, employing 60 clean energy staff.
And of course there’s Fraunhofer, a household name in industry with tens of thousands of employees around the world and our host today. A special thank you to Nolan Browne, Fraunhofer’s managing director, for that and for putting down roots here in Massachusetts.
It bears mentioning that every region of the Commonwealth is participating in the growing of our clean energy marketplace. Boston’s Innovation District and the legendary precincts of Cambridge and Somerville have been important hubs, of course. But small, independent contractors like Sandri are a major driver of growth in Central and Western Massachusetts. And the South Coast has become the fastest-growing clean energy cluster in the state, with a 14.3 percent rise in the last year. Construction is underway at the Marine Commerce Terminal in New Bedford that will launch an entirely new industry in offshore wind and position us to capture a disproportionate share of the jobs that will come.
There are important economic and environmental reasons to keep this progress going, and the exceptional results we have already experienced are just some of them.
For starters, energy bills are down by 25% since their peak in 2009. (By the way, if that were true about health insurance premiums, you would read about it on every front page in the land.) What does cheap natural gas and lower electricity prices mean for clean energy? It means we have the breathing room to consider and to make long-term investments right now – be they in solar, wind, energy efficiency, biogas or the host of other solutions to the climate challenge we face. That’s precisely what we are doing.
Take solar, for example. Because of policies we put in place together, we have 100 times as much installed solar in Massachusetts as we did when I took office, and a stunning increase to 8,400 people working in the sector. Earlier this year, because prices continued to fall and demand to rise, and because of the virtually ubiquitous potential of solar technology, we blew through my ambitious goal of 250 megawatts by 2017. So, I set a new one – 1.6 gigawatts by 2020. Let’s surpass that one, too.
Water innovation is another related cluster we need to cultivate. Since our trade mission to Israel in 2011, we came to appreciate the enormous need for solutions to the many water challenges around the world. Well, it turns out Massachusetts is home to nearly 300 water industry companies and organizations and the most Water Innovation Patents per capita in the nation.
Companies like Cambrian Innovation, Oasys Water and Xylem Inc. are working to accelerate the development of clean water technologies that reduce contamination and conserve water resources. These companies are working on commercial solutions to big problems in a global market estimated to generate between $360 billion and $600 billion in annual revenues.
We are working on a regional basis on ways to draw large-scale hydro into our market as well, to continue to drive down energy costs.
But let me be clear, the progress we have made is not because of either state government or the private sector acting alone. It is because we have worked together. And because we have looked to the future and the greater long-term good.
I have spent most of my career in the private sector. One of the things that worried me most about the companies I worked in or with was the overemphasis on managing for the next quarter, on getting short-term results sometimes at the expense of the firm’s long-term interests. That behavior has crept into the way we govern in America, where we govern for the next election cycle, or the next news cycle, instead of for the next generation.
My team and I brought a different approach, emphasizing the things we could and should tackle together that would leave a meaningful and lasting improvement in the strength of our Commonwealth. The growth and promise of the clean tech sector has been a critical example of that approach. I thank you for the progress you have made and the good you are doing, and I encourage you -- for the sake of generations to come -- to keep it up.