WASHINGTON — National business groups representing the range and breadth of clean energy companies in the U.S. cheered government statistics showing their industries support more than 3 million American jobs — equal to the employment of retail stores across the country and twice as many jobs as involved in construction of buildings. This is based on 2016 data recently released by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in its second annual “U.S. Energy and Employment Report.”
DOE does not offer a definition of "clean energy," and the trade associations representing different portions of the industry have their own ways of defining what it represents. But, the groups all agree that, in the aggregate, these jobs add up to more than 3 million nationwide.
The groups made the announcement on the same day they organized a national social media campaign, encouraging companies and workers to share their employment stories. The purpose of the social media event was to draw attention to these growing industries, which offer good-paying jobs ranging from equipment installation and maintenance to sales and information technology — many of which are jobs that cannot be automated or moved abroad.
Organizers of the #CleanEnergyJobs campaign include Advanced Energy Economy, American Council on Renewable Energy, AJW (representing Energy Service Cos.), Alliance to Save Energy, American Wind Energy Association, the Business Council for Sustainable Energy, Energy Storage Association, and Solar Energy Industries Association.
“Today, our organizations, member companies, and their workers are celebrating all the people who make up the clean energy industries and the positive impact that we have on the U.S. economy,” said Graham Richard, CEO of Advanced Energy Economy. “We are excited to bring visibility to our share of the more than 3 million people who work today in advanced energy across our nation.”
“People often don’t realize that energy efficiency is such a huge job creator,” said Kateri Callahan, president of Alliance to Save Energy. “It supports about three times as many jobs as the mining industry, and, unlike that sector, it is growing and creating good-paying jobs like weatherizing homes and manufacturing high-efficiency appliances or building materials. And the best news is, there’s just enormous opportunity to expand this work and create more jobs with smart efficiency policies and incentives.”
“These impressive employment numbers highlight the tremendous importance of America’s renewable energy sector, which attracted nearly $100 billion in investment over the last two years as a national economic driver,” said Gregory Wetstone, president and chief executive officer of the American Council On Renewable Energy. “We look forward to working with our members, policymakers, and allies to ensure that the American people have increasing opportunities to work, save, and prosper through renewable power.”
“Wind energy has now created over 100,000 jobs that rural and Rust Belt America need, including more than 25,000 manufacturing jobs in 43 states,” said Tom Kiernan, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association. “According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, wind turbine technician is now the fastest-growing job description in America.”
“The contributions of clean energy jobs to the country’s economy are significant and expanding,” said Lisa Jacobson, president of the Business Council for Sustainable Energy. “The trend lines are clear: energy efficiency, natural gas, and renewable energy are creating well-paying jobs and benefitting American consumers, American businesses, and American manufacturers. And that adds up to one conclusion — clean energy wins for America.”
“In setting a record for new electric generating capacity, the solar energy industry added one in every 50 new jobs in the economy last year and now employs 260,000 people in America,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association. “These jobs pay well, they support local economies, and they fuel American innovation."
According to the DOE’s “U.S. Energy and Employment Report,” the clean energy sector supported more than 3 million U.S. jobs in 2016, including:
- Nearly 2.2 million workers making buildings, appliances, and other products more energy efficient, saving money for families and businesses.
- More than 600,000 workers involved with clean power generation, including biomass, biogas, fuel cells, geothermal, hydropower, nuclear, natural gas, solar, waste-to-energy, and wind.
- 100,000 workers in advanced grid technologies, including energy storage, and another 100,000 workers in biofuels.
- In addition, advanced transportation, including hybrid, electric, and fuel cell vehicles support 200,000 more jobs.
These jobs are made possible by the growth of markets for clean energy products and services in this country. According to Advanced Energy Economy’s Advanced Energy Now 2016 Market Report, total U.S. revenue from the wide range of advanced energy goods and services was $200 billion in 2015, more than pharmaceutical manufacturing in this country. Investment over the past 10 years in zero-carbon electricity generation has totaled $507 billion, with $59 billion invested last year alone, according to the 2017 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook, published by the Business Council for Sustainable Energy.
The wind industry gets American-made turbine parts from more than 500 factories in 43 states. AWEA recently highlighted the growing number of jobs throughout the economy that are wind-powered, releasing its latest quarterly results at a General Motors factory near Dallas that builds 1,200 SUVs a day and will soon buy all its electricity from wind farms.
GTM Research and SEIA published a preliminary report showing that the solar industry in 2016 nearly doubled its previous record by installing 14,626 megawatts of generating capacity. This flood of new business helps to explain why The Solar Foundation found that the industry added 51,000 American jobs last year alone.
Publication date: 3/16/2017