Report supports N.C. as center for 'green' jobs, governor says

Posted June 16, 2009 7:50 a.m. EDT
Updated June 16, 2009 10:18 a.m. EDT

— According to a new Pew Center report, North Carolina is ready to capitalize on Gov. Beverly Perdue’s green energy plan, including her proposals to make green energy jobs a cornerstone of the state's economy.

The report, “The Clean Energy Economy: Repowering jobs, businesses and investments across America,” released last week, lists N.C. as among the top dozen states in growing “clean energy economy jobs.”

The report tracked clean energy economy job growth from 1998 through 2007, during which time the state saw clean energy economy jobs grow by 15.3 percent, while the overall job growth rate in the state was 6.4 percent.

In 2007, more than 1,700 clean energy businesses in North Carolina accounted for 17,000 jobs. From 2006 through 2008, more than $82.5 million in venture capital was invested in the state's clean energy economy jobs.

“I’ve said before, and I will say again: Green is gold for North Carolina,” Perdue said in a statement. “To get green right, we must build on our strengths that attract green companies – a well-trained, educated workforce; existing relationships between businesses and research institutions; and a strong link between energy policy and economic development.”

Perdue’s green energy plan includes the use of $18 million in federal recovery funds to create an Energy Investment Revolving Loan Fund. The fund will provide low- and no-interest loans, up to $1 million, to finance energy-saving projects.

She also proposes another $10 million to expand the state’s Green Business Fund to provide support to new, emerging and expanding green economy businesses.

Additionally, Gov. Perdue’s plan relocates the State Energy Office and state weatherization program to the Department of Commerce and reinvigorates the Energy Policy Council.