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City moves forward on green jobs creation

"City moves forward on green jobs creationVia Inside Tucson BusinessAdding more environmentally-friendly jobs to
Tucson might be one little stimulus check away.City officials are working on a plan to get money from the Department of
Energy to create jobs that promote energy efficiency, reduction of
greenhouse gasses and a good return on investment."We're breaking new ground here in a lot of ways. The Energy Department is
expecting us to be pretty creative in a lot of these projects," said City
of Tucson Sustainability Administrator David Schaller.Projects like methane gas capture, similar to the setup at Los Reales
Landfill, could get federal stimulus money through the city's new Green
Jobs Initiative. The Green Jobs Initiative is an effort to grab some of the
federal stimulus dollars for self-sustaining and energy efficient projects
around the city. The initiative was passed by the City Council in February
and has a May 4 target completion date. Part of the measure calls for
establishing a Green Jobs section on the city's website and evaluating
which projects can get funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment
Act."We really have two goals," said Councilman Steve Leal. He explained that
the program should to get the stimulus money, but also work towards
establishing permanent programs that don't rely on federal money.Those details depend on how much funding the city receives."This aspect of creating permanent transformational types of activities is
a challenge because we have to set up a revolving fund of some kind that
captures the energy efficiency savings from some of the activities we do,"
Schaller said.Tucson has until June 25 to get its paperwork in for federal approval.Although the 2007 Energy Act called for the creation of self-sustaining
jobs, is wasn't until this year's stimulus package the funding come
through. Eligible cities will share $952 million, with Tucson expecting to
get as much as $5.12 million in grant money as part of the Energy and
Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program.Where exactly that money will go towards depends on which of the 14
categories the city chooses to move forward with. Many categories call for
energy efficient building codes and transportation plans.Some of the categories, such as landfill methane gas capture and street
light replacement, are already being conducted and therefore are less
likely to get the federal funding.Ten percent of the funding can be used to issue sub-grants to nonprofit
organizations working on the city-designated plans."That kind of cooperation is what's really going to make it a great success
in Tucson," Leal said.The number of jobs the program will create depends not only on how many
grants the city gets, but the amount of equipment is needed for the work
and the metric for the scope of the work. For example, Schaller said the
estimate used in bridge and road construction is for every $90,000 spent, a
job is created.The structure of the new program will likely mirror a job pool."If we're going to be training people in green jobs...those people get
trained and fed into a process that gets them hired to do retrofits for
example," Schaller said.Despite the downturn, retrofitting buildings for energy efficiency is still
a lucrative business."Oh man, we're swamped; just buried," said Expert Solar Systems owner Jerry
Samaniego.The average house uses between four and six kilowatt-hours. A four kwh
solar setup can save between $80 and $100 per month on the electric bill.
Federal and state tax credits on solar panels can bring the cost of a
$30,000 array down to about $11,000, Samaniego said."We're probably the only industry in Tucson that's really thriving, other
than the people that sell Hershey's bars," said Samaniego, adding that he's
seen more people employed now in the energy efficiency industry in his 32
years of being in business.To view the original article please click here For the very latest green job"