Job growth found in wind power, environmental fields
SCRANTON — Ed Shoener knows the employment power of wind-generated energy.
BY JAMES HAGGERTY
Published: Wednesday, September 10, 2008 4:07 AM EDT
SCRANTON — Ed Shoener knows the employment power of wind-generated energy. “Wind is competitive now with traditional forms of energy,” Shoener said Tuesday. “Wind is not a pie-in-the-sky environmental technology.” His consulting firm, Shoener Environmental Consulting, has grown to 12 workers from three in 2005 and employs engineers, scientists and geographic information systems analysts. The Dickson City company, which did work for the wind farm in Waymart and does consulting for other wind-power and environmental-related projects, recently opened a branch office in San Diego.
Shoener Environmental’s growth fits the projections of a new academic report on job growth from investment in a nationwide clean-energy transition. The study, which was conducted by the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, projects that a $100 billion public-private investment in diversion from fossil-fuel energy would create 86,000 jobs in Pennsylvania and 2 million nationally. Clean-energy proponents discussed the report’s projections Tuesday at a gathering at Lackawanna County Courthouse Square.
Money invested in mass transit, energy-efficient building conversions, solar heat and biofuels development would create thousands of jobs for construction workers, engineers and scientists, said Katie Feeney, a policy analyst at the Clean Air Council, a Philadelphia-based environmental advocacy group. But academic projections and reality remain separate, as Jim Sovaiko’s experience shows. Last year, Sovaiko took part in a demonstration project sponsored by Lackawanna County in which a North Scranton garage was heated and cooled through geothermal energy