May 23--Idaho created more new jobs in clean energy industries in the first quarter of 2014 than any other state, according to non-profit environmental advocate Environmental Entrepreneurs.
One company, Aguacaliente, propelled Idaho to the No. 1 rank by announcing it will hire 800 workers to operate a $150-million geothermal energy plant near Malta.
Aguacaliente's three wells at the project tap into the 6,000-foot deep Raft River aquifer, which produces thousands of gallons of 280-degree water a minute, according to the Times-News. The company announced its early data reinforced plans to build an 18-well, 25-megawatt Walker Ranch power generating plant.
Idaho has a total of 17,543 clean energy jobs, ranking 37th among the 50 states and District of Columbia, according to the Environmental Entrepreneurs report. That figure makes up 2.7 percent of jobs in the state, giving Idaho the ninth-highest concentration of clean energy jobs. Idaho clean energy workers made an average yearly wage of $36,359, or more than $3,000 more per year than the average wage in the state, according to the report.
Leading Idaho employers in clean energy industries include Boise Cascade LLC (for green building materials production), Boise White Papcer LLC (green product production), Power Engineers Inc. (geothermal), RC Bigelow Inc. (Organic food and farming) and Windsor Window Co. (energy-saving building materials).
The report highlights the Aguacaliente announcement as one of the largest clean energy projects started in the first quarter of 2014. Others receiving special attention in the report were the 22-MW Barilla solar project in Pecos County, Texas, which is expected to create 350 jobs, and NJR Clean Energy Ventures' wind farm in Carroll County, Iowa, that will create at least 80 jobs.
A total of 5,600 jobs were created in the U.S. in clean energy industries during the first quarter, according to the report.
(c)2014 The Idaho Statesman (Boise, Idaho)
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Distributed by MCT Information Services
Original headline: Report: Idaho ranked No. 1 in clean energy job creation in 2014 first quarter
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