Iowa was among the top states in the country in creating "clean energy" jobs in the fourth quarter, according to a new report released today by Environmental Entrepreneurs.

 

Project announcements in wind energy, biofuels and recycling led to 650 clean energy jobs being created in Iowa during the fourth quarter, which placed the state fifth in the nation for the quarter based on the number of jobs created.

 

According to the report, more than 78,600 clean energy jobs were created nationwide in 2013 from more than 2,600 projects. Solar power generation was the year's top sector, with more than 21,600 jobs announced. Other strong sectors included building efficiency and public transportation.

 

"Our report makes it clear. When we invest in clean energy and clean transportation, we put people to work in every corner of the country," said Judith Albert, executive director of Environmental Entrepreneurs, which began tracking clean energy jobs last year. The organization was founded in 2000 as an affiliate of the Natural Resources Defense Council "to create a platform for independent business leaders to promote environmentally sustainable economic growth."  

 

Last year's job announcements were about 30 percent lower than in 2012, due in part to the continued low cost of natural gas that made renewable energy less competitive, as well as "attempts by renewable energy opponents to block or roll back favorable policies at the federal level and in numerous states," the report said.

 

In the fourth quarter, MidAmerican Energy Co. placed an order valued at more than $1 billion for Siemens Energy to manufacture 448 turbines for a major wind farm expansion in Iowa, which will create more than 1,000 jobs, according to the report.