Green jobs multiply in South Florida

Florida ranks 2nd in southern U.S. for green jobs

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. - When Neil Nissan with Florida Power & Light looks around the construction site in Riviera Beach, he sees a future of green jobs. 45 workers are currently helping FPL to rip down and tear up the old plant, to make way for a $1 billion clean energy center.

"It's going to reduce the air emissions by 90 percent, and it's going to cut the CO2 emissions rate in half, so it's going to be a lot cleaner, a lot better for the environment," he said. "It's going to be a high technology, combined cycle, natural gas energy center so it's going to use a lot less fuel, 33 percent less fuel, to produce double the output so it's going to have about 1250 megawatts, which is enough to cover about 50,000 homes and businesses."

FPL has built three solar plants in the state, creating 5,000 direct and indirect jobs. At peak construction time for the Riviera Beach plant, 650 green construction employees will be working.

The "green" nature of the plant creates indirect jobs in other nearby businesses. For example, as the 15,000 tons of debris are cut up on the site, they will be recycled at a local plant in Palm Beach County.

Palm Beach County has seen rapid growth in green construction. The Workforce Alliance is currently assisting various companies with filling hundreds of jobs, the majority for the construction process and fewer for permanent positions.

Groups like the Business Development Board of Palm Beach County are pushing for more in the green sector.

President and CEO of the BDB Kelly Smallridge said, "It has a tremendous opportunity for jobs. Tremendous opportunity to bring more R&D here, and the jobs are high-paying, high-quality."

Smallridge also adds, more can be done to improve Florida's outlook for green jobs.

"If Florida adopts a renewable energy policy, and mandates that a certain amount of energy comes from renewable sources, that of course will attract more and more companies that manufacture and create technologies in renewable energy in green," she said.

The Workforce Alliance says, beginning July 25, you will be able to access a wide variety of information on green jobs. Learn more at www.florida.greenjobs.net .

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