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An Examination of Clean Energy and Jobs in Connecticut

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Governor Dannel Malloy's Council on Climate Change is expected to issue its first report in January. The panel has the goal of helping the state reduce its greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent below 2001 levels over the next 35 years. 

This week, the Connecticut Roundtable on Climate and Jobs issued a new report examining how that goal could impact job creation in the state. 

"Somehow the idea has been floated that environmentalists are uninterested in industry, that maybe it's all about gardening or meditation or something like that," said Frank Ackerman, an economist with Synapse Energy, which produced the report. "But the environmental vision of clean energy ... is a vision of industry repurposed and rebuilt."

Ackerman said clean energy policies, particularly those relying heavily on wind and solar, could produce thousands of new jobs in Connecticut. Jobs like metal fabricators and machinists.

James Albis, co-chair of the state's environment committee, agrees. "The clean power sector provides those construction jobs, those manufacturing jobs that are middle class that will continue to make our economy robust -- and it's vitally important that we make the investments in those types of jobs," he said.

What the report didn't account for was local resistance to things like large-scale solar arrays or wind projects, but it does call into question some cornerstones of Governor Malloy's energy policy: including an increased reliance on natural gas.

Patrick Skahill is a reporter and digital editor at Connecticut Public. Prior to becoming a reporter, he was the founding producer of Connecticut Public Radio's The Colin McEnroe Show, which began in 2009. Patrick's reporting has appeared on NPR's Morning Edition, Here & Now, and All Things Considered. He has also reported for the Marketplace Morning Report. He can be reached at pskahill@ctpublic.org.

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