Missouri leads region in clean-energy job growth rate

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COLUMBIA - Missouri leads the Midwest in the rate of clean-energy jobs. The state is projected to have a 8.3 percent in growth of clean-energy jobs in 2016 and is the leading state for energy storage jobs, according to a report that came out Tuesday.

Such jobs include work in solar power, wind power, improving the power grid, and improving appliance efficiency. The most common in Missouri includes vehicles powered by natural gas.

Mark Walter, deputy director at Renew Missouri, a non-profit organization aimed at advancing energy efficiency, said people should care about clean-energy jobs because they are non-exportable. In other words, these jobs cannot be sent to another country.

"These jobs are local jobs. They are in rural Missouri and local Missouri. There's a lot of diversity and ability to impact local economies with that," Walter said. 

He said there are about 1, 500 jobs in Boone County that have to do with clean-energy and energy efficient practices. Walter said clean energy is the cheapest longterm energy. 

"If we can create more policies that would create more clean-emery jobs, then we are going to make Missouri a more attractive place for businesses to come and locate," Walter said. "They are going to understand that Missouri wants them to have lower costs in energy."

Josh Campbell, executive director of Missouri Energy Initiative, said, although he is for clean-energy jobs, he understands why some people oppose it.

"People view clean jobs however they define them, which is the start of the problem. People don't fully understand what it is," Campbell said. "Some people see them as an outgrowth of an artificial state-mandated policy."

To see how many energy efficient jobs central Missouri has, visit the Clean Jobs Midwest website