September 13, 2010

Getting A Handle On State's "Green" Economy

By: by Eric Anderson, Business Editor, Times Union


ALBANY -- Surveys will soon begin arriving at companies throughout the state that have a role or a future in the so-called "green" economy.

As many as 20,000 businesses will be contacted as the state Department of Labor seeks to identify how many people now have green jobs, what companies feel they need when it comes to training, and what the outlook is for green jobs, said Michelle Duffy, a Labor Department spokeswoman.

The work is being funded with a $1.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor.

The state Labor Department is working with several other agencies and organizations, including the Energy and Environmental Technology Applications Center (E2TAC) at the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering of the University at Albany.

"My sense is that we've been pretty aggressive right from the beginning" in developing green technologies and job opportunities, said Pradeep Haldar, director of E2TAC. He said he believes just a handful of states were chosen to participate in the survey.

Once results have been received and tabulated, policy makers and educators will be able to determine what's needed in terms of training and support.

The field is expected to thrive as efforts build to reduce energy consumption and increase energy efficiency in uses from cars to houses.

Already, Hudson Valley Community College is training students in renewable energy technologies. GE Renewable Energy has established its headquarters in Schenectady, and CNSE is exploring ways to improve clean and renewable energy technologies at the nanoscale level.

Preliminary results should be available in late autumn, Haldar and Duffy said.