Smart Grid Observer

Advanced Energy Economy: Over 3 Million in U.S. Now Work for Clean Energy


Source: Smart Grid Observer

This week, national business groups representing the range and breadth of clean energy companies in the United States 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 in its second annual U.S. Energy and Employment Report.

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 them 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 Companies), Alliance to Save Energy, American Wind Energy Association, the Business Council for Sustainable Energy, Energy Storage Association, and Solar Energy Industries Association.

'People often don't realize that energy efficiency is such a huge jobs creator,' said Alliance to Save Energy President Kateri Callahan. '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.'

'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.'

'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 Department of Energy'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.

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 the U.S. 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.

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