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The Kansas chapter of the Blue Green Alliance, a national partnership that promotes programs and policies that result in the development of the green economy, says a new report indicates that the state could gain more than 11,000 manufacturing jobs in the renewable energy industry. The report was issued by the Renewable Energy Policy Project (REPP), a nonprofit, nonpartisan policy research organization based in Washington, D.C.

The report, which projects $1.97 billion of investment, spurred local labor unions, community and farm organizations, and environmental groups to form the Kansas chapter of the Blue Green Alliance.

The newly formed Kansas Blue Green Alliance includes the United Steelworkers, the Communication Workers of America District 6, Kansas AFL-CIO, The Land Institute, Kansas Rural Center, Kansas Farmers Union, the Great Plains Alliance for Clean Energy, Sierra Club, Greenpeace, and other local unions and community groups that will work together to promote programs and policies that create a green economy in the state.

The REPP report found that more than 425 existing Kansas firms could manufacture component parts for renewable energy technologies. Counties poised to benefit most from development of wind, solar, geothermal and biomass resources include Saline, Johnson, Sedgwick, Ellis and Wyandotte.

"Our goal is to ensure that as the U.S. moves to develop renewable sources of energy, Kansas workers are positioned to reap the benefits," says AJ Villegas, representative for the Communication Workers of America.

A renewable energy economy in Kansas would draw upon and expand the existing manufacturing base in the state, helping to offset the 11,000 manufacturing jobs lost between January 2001 and June 2007, according to the report. Constructing wind projects, for example, creates jobs for sheet metal workers, machinists, electricians, operating engineers, laborers and truck drivers.

SOURCE: Kansas Blue Green Alliance



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