State hopeful for ‘Green Collar’ jobs in future

By Chelle Delaney: Quay County Sun

Renewable energy sources, such as wind, solar and biomass, offer the state an opportunity to diversify its economy and provide “green collar jobs, said Lt. Gov. Diane Denish at a Renew conference in Tucumcari Wednesday.

“Clean energy offers all of us a chance at new revenue streams for New Mexico and to replace some of those resources that we know are going to be limited in the future,” Denish said.

“These industries are providing, most of all, the new term ‘green collar’ jobs all across the country. New Mexico has a head start on creating green collar jobs,” said Denish, citing as an a example the launch this year of a wind technology training center at Mesalands Community College.

“This is our chance to begin to make sure that good paying jobs land right here in New Mexico by taking advantage of that thin air,” whether its from the wind for turbines or the sun for solar power, Denish said.

About 300 people were at the conference on Wednesday and Thursday. Speakers included state officials, experts in renewable energy technologies, development and law and several dozen farmers and ranchers who were interested in how their land might be used as a resource for a renewable energy site, such as a wind farm. Renewable energy developers and vendors who service the industry also had a trade show during the conference at the Tucumcari Convention Center.

Global economy is changing more and more jobs are high skilled and high tech and located, for the most part, in urban and larger cities. However, as more clean energy companies invest in New Mexico, more green collar, higher paying jobs will become available
The state and some cities are already involved in constructing green office buildings. Manufacturers and designers of products for commercial and residential properties also are responding, Denish said.

In addition, there are discussion with the state’s Mortgage Finance Authority to offer green mortgages to incentivize the building of energy saving homes, she said.

Secretary of the New Mexico Economic Development Department Fred Mondragon said the state is perfectly situated and suited to produce alternative energy and to becoming a world leader.

“In the sustainable area, we want to make sure we recruit responsibly and I think that’s one of the things that we are doing that by:
l “A) looking at companies that don’t contaminate our environment

l “B) looking at companies that will put us in the forefront of sustainable economic development with clean energy.”

Mondragon also said that the state offered incentives, such as tax credits, to companies that make it attractive for them to produce and market green products and energy in the state.