GREEN BAY- Over the past few decades, industry and manufacturing have scaled back in Wisconsin, and no longer provide the kind of jobs that they used to. As the economy changes, many workers have been displaced out of their careers, and many are struggling to make ends meet. Gregory Hitch, a Green Bay native and columnist for the Green Bay Press-Gazette argues that investing in renewable energy may help fix this problem. Green jobs may be the future for Green Bay.

Gregory Hitch writes for the Green Bay Press-Gazette:

Green Bay has a long industrial history, and a knack for innovation. However, global markets, automation, and disinvestment have hurt our industry.

The economy is changing, and we need to change with it. The infrastructure that supported our industrial jobs still exists here, and who’s to say we can’t retool these old factories to build wind turbines, solar panels, and the just emerging products of the next industrial era?

By creating incentives for homeowners and businesses to install solar and make energy efficiency upgrades, we can create more American jobs that can’t be outsourced, while promoting our homegrown energy industry. Moreover, if we build enough renewable energy capacity and make our buildings efficient, we can start to turn off boilers at our fossil-fuel power plants, which will cut harmful pollution and improve our community’s health and well-being.

Manufacturing and installing renewable energy in our community is a win-win. It provides good jobs and improves our quality of life. We are already seeing an uptick in renewable energy jobs in America. According to the most recent Department of Energy (DOE) report, solar now employs more than twice as many people as coal, but is still just a fraction of our nation’s energy supply. And wind energy is also on the rise.

According to the same DOE report, “the solar workforce increased by 25 percent in 2016, while wind employment increased by 32 percent.” These industries are just hitting their stride. And since non-hydro renewables are only 8 percent of America’s energy mix, a huge growth potential exists.

Read more at the Green Bay Press-Gazette.