January 8, 2014
Over the past few years there’s been a lot of talk about green jobs. But one renewable sector scantly mentioned actually supports more jobs than wind or solar combined: Hydro.
Between 200,000 and 300,000 people currently work in or around hydroelectric dams across the United States, according to the National Hydropower Association.
That’s small compared to the 2.6 million the oil and gas industry claims it employs, but it’s more than wind (80,000, according to the wind industry) and solar (120,000) put together. It’s even more than the 206,000 the National Mining Association says work mining coal.
“There’s a whole host of individuals involved, with lots of different employment opportunities,” said Linda Church Ciocci, the National Hydropower Association’s executive director.
What the jobs are: Most hydro dams in the United States have already been built, so these jobs aren’t really in the construction or engineering of new facilities. Instead, they’re concentrated in operations at existing dams.
Job functions include the engineers and operators who open and close the dams gates, send the power to the grid and otherwise run the place. They also include the mechanics, electricians and other maintenance professionals needed for upkeep on the increasingly aging facilities. Read more …