Clean Valley: San Joaquin Valley Leveraging Natural Resources to Grow the Clean Economy
New Next 10 report finds that the San Joaquin Valley is leveraging its agriculture and traditional energy expertise to develop a regional clean tech sector in a heavily agriculture-focused area—earning the nickname Blue Tech Valley.
The San Joaquin Valley is the first region in the nation to develop an industry-led water technology cluster, which features more than 200 companies located in the valley and networked nationwide, ranging from farms to tech firms. Innovative partnerships have also helped the San Joaquin Valley become California's leader in installed renewable energy capacity.
Kern County has the highest installed renewable capacity in the state, with more than 8,750 MW permitted—enough to generate electricity for more than seven million people. The region also has nearly 65 MW in rooftop solar generation, due in part to innovative policies designed to help lower-income residents install panels on their homes. And to help ensure that local residents benefit from the growth in this industry, Kern County established a rule that renewable energy installation contracts must hire workers from within the local community. This and other factors have contributed to the creation of 6,000 construction jobs and 1,500 operational jobs in Kern County.
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- The region is a hub for developing and testing new water technologies for irrigation, conservation, and metering.
- Driven by innovative permitting processes and partnerships, the San Joaquin Valley is the statewide leader in installed renewable energy capacity.
- These projects have attracted $25 billion in investment capital.
- In January 2014, there were over 10,500 jobs in San Joaquin Valley's "core" clean economy, which includes businesses that provide the products and services that are facilitating the transition away from fossil fuels and the more efficient use of natural resources.
- Employment in the San Joaquin Valley's clean economy is driven largely by energy generation, recycling and waste, and air and environment sectors.