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Friday, October 8, 2010

Wisconsin 'can do more' to attract green jobs

From an article by Tom Content in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

The Wisconsin Sustainable Business Council has published a 2010 Green Jobs Report focusing on areas of opportunity and investment for the state to focus on to build jobs in the clean-tech sector.

The report sees opportunities in jobs linked to energy efficiency, green building, renewable energy and mass transit.

"Green jobs are a critical part of the state's recovery from the recession," said Tom Eggert, executive director of the business council and co-director of the business, environment and social responsibility program at the University of Wisconsin School of Business.

The aim of the report was to look at green jobs in Wisconsin at a time when other Midwest states have moved to capitalize and promote the attractiveness of their states for clean-tech companies, Eggert said.

"We can do more," the report concludes. "We have only to look at our neighboring states of Iowa or Minnesota to see the benefit of establishing Wisconsin as a hotbed of green expertise."

Strengths that the state can build on include its manufacturing tradition and the experience of its workforce in manufacturing technology, Eggert said.

"Green jobs will gravitate toward states that are the most attractive, or to states that actively increase their attractiveness relative to competing states," the report says.

Wisconsin has invested heavily in energy efficiency initiatives and in research linked to cellulosic ethanol and biofuels. Cellulosic ethanol is a biofuel produced from wood, grasses, or the nonedible parts of plants.

But Eggert sees an opportunity by increasing the state's renewable portfolio standard as a way to send a message to companies that may want to locate here that the state is committed to renewable energy. A renewable portfolio standard is a regulation that requires increased production of energy from renewable energy sources, such as wind, solar, biomass and geothermal.

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