Report ranks Louisiana among top states for green energy jobs – The Times

May 22, 2014 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

Louisiana was one of the nation’s top green energy job creators during the first three months of this year thanks to plans for a $20 million recycled manufacturing plant in the northwest part of the state, according to an analysis by Environmental Entrepreneurs. This is the first time Louisiana has cracked the top 10 since the organization started ranking states by green energy jobs in 2011.

The report said job announcements tied to the solar, wind, energy-efficient recycling and other green industries were down nationwide as the expiration of certain federal tax credits and low natural gas prices crimped overall investment.

Environmental Entrepreneurs, an affiliate of the Natural Resources Defense Council, tracks clean energy and clean transportation job announcements reported by companies and the national media.

According to the report, companies announced nearly 5,600 clean energy and clean transportation jobs in the United States during the first quarter. That compares with 12,000 jobs in the first quarter of 2013.

Idaho led the nation with 802 green jobs announced in the first quarter, all tied to a geothermal project planned by Aguacaliente near Malta, Idaho. The Colorado-based company is building a power plant that will convert energy from boiling hot water deep underground into electricity.

The top 10 also included Texas, California and Arizona, states where the solar and wind industries have a strong presence.

Louisiana ranked 10th in the nation for green jobs announcements, with 300 new jobs expected in coming months.

The jobs will support a $20 million investment from IntegriCo Composites in northern Louisiana, according to the report.

The company, which manufactures railroad ties and other transportation components from recycled plastic, will start construction on a new manufacturing facility outside of Springhill this summer.

It is also relocating its headquarters from Temple, Texas to Webster Parish.

IntegriCo expects to begin hiring in October.

In its report, Environmental Entrepreneurs urged Congress to extend federal tax credits for wind, solar and energy efficiency, including the Production Tax Credit, which provides a credit for every kilowatt-hour created by alternative and renewable energy sources. The PTC expired in December.

The group said such policies are necessary to level the playing field for renewables as they compete with established fossil fuel technologies, which also benefit from federal subsidies.

Critics counter that most fossil fuel subsidies go to consumers, not directly to energy producers, marking a key difference between the two.

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