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Renewable energy requirement creates jobs, Berkeley study says

U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell tours a new solar farm in Desert Center, Calif., on Feb. 9 2015. (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell tours a new solar farm in Desert Center, Calif., on Feb. 9 2015. (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

As lawmakers consider new measures to combat climate change, researchers at UC Berkeley released a study saying stronger renewable energy requirements would lead to new jobs.

California law requires the state to get 33% of its electricity from renewable sources, such as solar and wind, by 2020. A bill by Sen. Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) would increase that standard to 50% by 2030.

Because building renewable energy facilities is a temporary gig, the study uses measurements in “job years” to estimate how much work would be created. One “job year” equals enough work to employ somebody full time for a year.

From 2003 to 2014, renewable energy requirements created 52,000 “job years,” the study said. Up to 429,000 additional “job years” would be created if lawmakers approved higher standards.

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