MORGANTOWN, WEST VIRGINIA —West Virginia’s ability to provide efficient energy for industry could create thousands of skilled jobs and help secure the state’s economic future.
That’s according to a new report released by the American Jobs Project with James Van Nostrand, professor of law at West Virginia University .
“Industrial energy efficiency can help West Virginia manufacturers reduce their energy costs and remain competitive in today's marketplace,” said Van Nostrand, who is the director of the Center for Energy and Sustainable Development at the West Virginia University College of Law.
Van Nostrand served as an advisor to the report, titled “The West Virginia Works Project: A Guide to Creating Jobs in Industrial Energy Efficiency.”
By providing energy solutions to manufacturers, the report finds, West Virginia could create more than 6,100 direct and indirect jobs annually through 2030.
Van Nostrand and the American Jobs Project found that West Virginia already holds a competitive advantage in the supporting industrial energy efficiency, including:
- top-notch research facilities, such as West Virginia University and the National Energy and Technology Laboratory;
- an abundance of natural resources;
- robust chemical manufacturing;
- a readily available and skilled workforce; and
- a geographic location nearby to 50 percent of the U.S. population.
The report recommends innovative strategies to help grow West Virginia’s industrial energy efficiency sector. They are:
- strengthening and expanding the state’s foreign direct investment strategy;
- encouraging commercialization of cutting-edge research;
- developing relationships with national foundations engaging in program-related investment;
- creating tax incentives for investment in startups;
- aligning community college efforts with private sector needs; and
- offering industrial energy efficiency tax incentives to manufacturers.
“Adopting these recommendations would put the state on a more sustainable path toward economic prosperity," said Van Nostrand.
Van Nostrand notes that the findings of “The West Virginia Job Report” align with calls recently made by E. Gordon Gee, president of West Virginia University, for WVU to play a prominent role in fixing the problems facing the Mountain State.
Speaking at the 39th annual WVU Alumni Luncheon on Capitol Hill on June 6, Gee urged state leaders to explore new avenues for revenue and market growth to address West Virginia’s economic instability.
To learn more about and download a copy of the West Virginia report, visit http://americanjobsproject.us/ajp-state/west-virginia/.