High Energy: Despite recession, companies expand to serve state’s green energy industry
By Sam Boykin CHARLOTTE — One of the few bright spots during this recession seems to be a growing belief among the business community that energy conservation and eco-friendly initiatives are not only good for the planet, but also good for the bottom line. In the Charlotte area, several companies are expanding to capitalize on North Carolina’s growing green energy market. Growth also is being driven by new legislative standards that will require the state’s utility companies to receive 12.5 percent of retail sales from renewable energy sources, including solar, bio-mass and wind, by 2020. When the N.C. Sustainable Energy Association released its Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Industry Census this summer, it showed the state has 10,250 jobs related to sustainable energy. The survey also predicted that companies in the green industry could create 1,025 new jobs and, by December 2010, initiate approximately 1,300 new projects worth more than $1.2 billion.