NM conference focuses on green
Jan 21, 2008 - Sue Major Holmes
- The Associated Press
The head of New Energy Economy wants
businesses, universities and governments to create
partnerships and put New Mexico in a position "to
capture the green wave of investment that's out
One of the first jobs is to train
workers for the jobs of the future green economy,
said John Fogarty, a medical doctor who heads New
Energy Economy, a nonprofit dedicated to creating
opportunities through solutions to global warming.
New Mexico has already begun the training
At Mesalands Community College in
Tucumcari, students at the new North American Wind
Research and Training Institute are learning how
to put up wind turbines, how to maintain them and
how to service them. Fogarty said General Electric
already has committed to hire all the graduates
of the program for the next three years.
There are opportunities for solar
programs in Santa Fe and Farmington, green building
technology programs in urban areas and training
on energy storage at Espanola in association with
Los Alamos National Laboratory, he said.
"I think that companies, industries
are going to migrate to areas with a trained work
force," Fogarty said. "There's a deficiency of trained
people in renewable energy right now."
His organization, plus Bioneers, the
Regional Development Corporation and the state departments
of Economic Development and Workforce Solutions
developed a two-day conference that began Wednesday
in Santa Fe to talk about opportunities for attracting
green jobs to New Mexico and legislation that would
encourage the state's green economy.
The goal is to create a statewide
network that would develop regional expertise in
solar, wind and green building energy efficiency,
He believes the public is behind such
"We've seen a sea change in the last
few years," he said.
"Green jobs are good jobs, high-paying
jobs that are going to stay here," Fogarty said.
"They can't ship a house to China to put solar panels
It will be necessary for state and
federal governments to invest in green energy, but
that will trigger private investment, Fogarty said.
In addition, if federal or state lawmakers pass
legislation aimed at reducing global warming pollution,
"that's going to create a huge signal to private
investors to start investing in wind, solar, green
building efficiency," he said.
While Fogarty believes New Mexico
will be in the forefront, "I think this is really
about transforming the economy of America and making
sure we have a trained work force" to solve global
warming and become energy independent.
He notes Gov. Bill Richardson's support
for alternative energy and that President Barack
Obama's stimulus package calls for billions of dollars
to go into renewable energy programs, including
energy efficiency, weatherization and job training.
"The announcements that Governor Richardson
and President Obama made are really a reflection
of a movement that's happening in America right
now, a reflection of the hard work of energy advocates
all over the country who have been working for decades
to transform the energy economy.
"I feel like we've been climbing a
steep cliff for years and can look out over the
horizon. ... I think that is the dawn of the new
energy economy," Fogarty said.