On a recent CBS segment “Where are jobs being created in clean energy?” Reena Ninan interviewed Duke Professor Brian Murray to get his expert opinion on the future of energy jobs.
Murray is director of the Environmental Economics Program at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions and interim director of the Duke University Energy Initiative. He has researched extensively on cap-and-trade programs as well as the effectiveness of renewable energy subsidies.
In the interview with Ninan, Professor Murray described a long term trend in the power sector away from coal and toward natural gas and renewable energy sources. He mentioned that the Trump administration’s proposed subsidies to the coal industry may decrease the pace of change but also highlighted the important contribution to job growth that solar energy has created…precisely in those states that helped put Trump into office. From 2016 to 2017, solar energy jobs increased by nearly 6,000% in Alabama, with notable increases in other Southern and Midwestern states including Mississippi, Montana, Idaho and Michigan. In fact, 8 of the 10 fastest growing U.S. solar markets are in “red” states.
When asked why solar energy is growing in “Trump states” Murray explained that it is, “mostly because that’s really where the sun is” – large swathes of open land and uninterrupted sun exposure in rural America provide the perfect environment for solar energy farms. According to Murray, wind and solar power combined created about half a million jobs last year alone.