Published July 19, 2012
South Carolina businesses in the clean energy sector employ more than 17,000 people and generate more than $726 million in annual gross revenue, according to a new study.
The South Carolina Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Industries Census also revealed that 269 S.C. firms are in the clean energy business, focusing on wind, solar, biomass, alternative fuels, recycling and green building.
The survey found that the state’s clean energy firms employed a total of 17,292 full-time equivalent employees, or FTEs. The largest clean technology sector was the energy efficiency/building sciences with 106 firms and 3,543 FTEs, the study said. Next was solar with 44 firms and 1,892 FTEs, and biomass with 44 firms and 1,716 FTEs.
South Carolina is well-positioned to succeed in the creation of new, advanced energy companies, particularly in the areas of bio products, energy efficiency and building sciences, offshore wind and hydrogen fuel cells, the report added.
The one-day event included clean energy-related companies, service providers, investors and entrepreneurs. The goal of the event was to help develop the state’s clean energy cluster, said Tom French, executive director of the alliance.
“One of the things we were trying to do was aggregate all the different businesses,” French said. “We had pretty much everyone today at the table.”
French, formerly chairman for the S.C. Biomass Council, said Wednesday’s event was different from previous gatherings organized by clean energy groups. Those tended to be dominated by scientists and inventors of clean technologies.
“We’re seeing a lot more business people. That’s a transition we want to see,” French said.
The alliance wants to develop the state’s clean energy business sector and link it to regional and national businesses groups.
A step toward that goal was realized when the Advanced Energy Economy, a national platform for creating a unified business voice for advanced energy, announced at the conference that the S.C. alliance was became its newest chapter.
South Carolina “is an important addition to our growing national network of business organizations,” said Graham Richard, CEO of the energy group. “We look forward to working with them to ensure U.S. leadership in meeting growing global energy needs with advanced energy solutions — a market opportunity of historic proportions.”
The S.C. alliance, established in September 2011, was initially sponsored by New Carolina: South Carolina’s Council on Competitiveness.
The alliance has been charged with building a broad-based business group that fosters the development of a clean energy industry in South Carolina.