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Thinking Green Will Create Jobs in Rhode Island

Posted on February 10, 2010

The first state-coordinated plan to develop a green economy recommends creating an energy strategy for RI, thereby sparking the creation of a plethora of green jobs in Rhode Island.

According to ProJo.com, this will expand sources of funding for clean technology companies and setting up worker-training programs, in the hope that the new initiatives can contribute to an economic recovery.

“The green economy is a new opportunity for Rhode Island that can increase the number and diversity of jobs and raise wages,” the plan from the state Economic Development Corporation says. “Ultimately, advancing the green economy will require efforts with all kinds of companies: nurturing new, entrepreneurial efforts; helping existing companies grow and convert to green practices; and attracting existing or new ventures from outside the state.”

The plan, “A Roadmap for Advancing the Green Economy in Rhode Island,” is expected to be released Tuesday at a conference in Warwick attended by state business and government leaders, including Governor Carcieri, Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed and EDC Executive Director Keith Stokes.

About 250 people from renewable-energy businesses, labor groups and work-force development organizations are expected to attend the invitation-only event. The keynote speaker is retired Army Gen. Wesley Clark, a former presidential candidate who is now the chairman of Emergya Wind Technologies.

The event was organized by the EDC as a follow-up to a conference last July in which participants brainstormed ways to create so-called green jobs in Rhode Island In his speech, Clark will talk about the national outlook for the industry.

Although it offers general optimism about the green sector, the state plan does not say how large the industry could be in Rhode Island or how many jobs it could create. The New England Economic Partnership, however, issued a report in November that projected the green economy would not be a major engine of growth in Rhode Island and the region in the immediate future. That report cited a study by the Pew Charitable Trusts that found only about 2,300 green jobs in Rhode Island in 2007.

PoJo.com said the EDC coordinated the development of the plan, which was based on several sessions involving those who attended the first conference, according to Meaghan Wims, a spokeswoman for the state agency.

 Participants included representatives of the state’s universities and technical schools and executives from such companies as Alteris Renewables, an installer of clean-energy systems, and Deepwater Wind, which is proposing two wind farms off the Rhode Island coast.


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