The 2013 “California Green Innovation Index,” released Tuesday by the nonprofit policy group Next 10, finds that jobs in the “Core Clean Economy” totaled 176,000 as of January 2011. The Bay Area, including Silicon Valley, boasts 52,555 clean energy jobs, or 30 percent of the state’s total.
The bulk of the state’s green jobs are in services, such as environmental consulting and green marketing. But green job growth can be found across clean tech sectors, from advanced materials to the smart grid.
“Jobs in the clean economy are at pre-recession levels,” said Doug Henton of Collaborative Economics, who prepared the report for Next 10.
Tracking green job growth can be difficult because there are several different ways to define “green jobs” and the “green economy.” Collaborative Economics defines green jobs and businesses as those that conserve energy and natural resources, reduce pollution, re-purpose waste and provide alternatives to carbon-based energy sources. The firm scours employment databases and then reached out to individual companies in an effort to quantify the actual number of jobs created.
The report also found that clean technology patent registrations in California increased by 26 percent between 2010 and 2011 and noted that while venture capital funding for clean tech is down, corporate investors are getting increasingly involved in the sector.