Workers install solar panels.
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Workers install solar panels.
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AGL Energy Limited announced in August solar projects that include a 102MW solar plant at Nyngan and a 53MW solar plant at Broken Hill. The total project cost is approximately $450 million. To support AGL’s delivery of the projects, ARENA will provide $166.7 million and the NSW Government will provide $64.9 million. ARENA is the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.

No matter where you live on the globe and regardless of what you think about today’s debates over what creates more jobs, oil and gas or alternative energy, there’s no denying that for anyone in construction it’s wise to keep tabs on what’s going on. Construction opportunities in the energy sector come from many directions and are not always directly

associated with building a solar array, putting in a pipeline or erecting a wind turbine. Many times there are support functions, housing, offices, infrastructure and utilities that accompany these projects. Renewables are often constructed on barren lands that have few services. That requires roads to be built, water to be delivered and a range of services to be provided where there haven’t been any. Consider these clean energy projects recently announced around the world.

US energy project opportunities

In the U.S.,10 states announced upwards of 38,000 jobs would come from clean energy and transportation projects slated to get underway anytime now. These 58 projects announced in Q2 of this year, include solar, wind, biofuel, energy efficiency and transportation. You can locate these projects by state, right here.

Australia’s solar hotbed

Meanwhile, down under, Australia is planting two large photovoltaic farms that will produce 360,000 megawatts per year and power more than 50,000 homes. Australia gets the highest amount of solar radiation per square meter than any other continent so it’s not surprising that coupled with government incentives, the PV market for homes has been strong with 1 out of every 12 homes now fitted with PV systems. The bad news is that an end to government incentives was predicted to take the winds out of the PV sails during 2013. One bright spot though is that the market shakeup will actually end up spreading installations more equally across the nation.

The South African initiative

Also in the southern hemisphere, South Africa just completed the tower portion of its first concentrated solar power plant that will eventually produce 50 megawatts and the country also has a parabolic trough plant under construction that will generate 100 megawatts. Not only that, South Africa plans to bring online 17,800 megawatts generated from renewable sources before 2030. The government says these initiatives will create between 1,400 and 2,000 jobs annually.

India trying to keep up

India recently announced a $7.9 billion initiative to double its transmission capacity by tapping more energy from the wind and sun. That effort is aimed at reducing the number of the more than 400 million people in the country who don’t have access to reliable electricity. Meanwhile, the country’s electrical consumption is growing rapidly — 64% from 2001 to 2011 and is expected to rise another 72% by 2022. One opportunity that many in India see as missing is the lack of reporting on the jobs created by these energy initiatives. Apparently few companies report their job numbers even though wind and solar are more labor intensive than the more highly mechanized fossil fuel energy development.

Sources:

Can the Keystone XL Pipeline Beat Wind and Solar’s Job Creation?

http://theenergycollective.com/nrdcswitchboard/262021/indias-untold-story-solar-and-wind-projects-create-jobs-and-clean-energy

http://www.altenergymag.com/news/2013/08/27/abengoa-completes-tower-construction-of-the-first-solar-tower-in-south-africa-khi-solar-one/30589

Australia solar PV outlook: Boom may finally end in 2013

http://theenergycollective.com/energyrefuge/259681/two-new-projects-boost-australia-s-solar-power-mix

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