Nearly 3.3 million Americans now work in clean energy in every state in the country, according to a new analysis of energy jobs data by E2 (Environmental Entrepreneurs). Across the country, nearly every state saw an increase in clean energy jobs in 2018, combining to add about 110,000 net new jobs for a growth rate of 3.6 percent.
Overall, clean energy jobs totaled more than 3.26 million at the end of 2018, growing despite the impact of the Trump administration’s tariffs on solar panels and market uncertainty from the administration’s inaction and planned rollbacks of energy efficiency and clean vehicles policies. Clean jobs outnumber fossil fuels jobs nearly three to one (3.26 M to 1.17 M) and clean energy employers said they anticipate 6 percent job growth for 2019.
Two sectors in particular – clean energy storage and clean vehicles – saw job totals increase sharply from last year (14 and 15 percent respectively), driven by growing consumer EV adoption, state expansions of charging infrastructure, falling battery prices and increased solar-storage installations. Clean storage’s 75,000 jobs are its highest ever, while clean vehicles added 34,000 jobs.
The analysis expands on data from the 2019 U.S. Energy and Employment Report (USEER) released by the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO) and Energy Futures Initiative (EFI). E2 is a partner on the USEER, the fourth installment of the energy survey first released by the Department of Energy in 2016 and subsequently abandoned under the Trump administration. Clean energy jobs have grown every year since the first report was released in 2016.
According to E2’s 2019 Clean Jobs America analysis, energy efficiency added the most new jobs in 2018 of any energy industry, accounting for half (76,000) of the sector’s total job increase (151,700). Energy efficiency’s dominance in clean energy employment continues to be driven by construction (1.3 million) and manufacturing (321,000). Energy efficiency-related jobs make up more than one out of every six US construction jobs.
Solar jobs decreased for the second year in a row, falling by nearly 15,000 in 2018, while wind energy jobs grew by 3.5 percent. About 90 percent of solar job losses occurred in California and Massachusetts, while 18 other states saw growth. Solar remains the top U.S. job provider in electric power generation—leading natural gas by more than 200,000 jobs —while wind is third, trailing natural gas by fewer than 1,500 jobs.
Traditionally strong clean energy states dominated the job rankings again in 2018, with nine states now topping the 110,000-job mark for clean energy employment. States outside the top 10, including Kansas, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, and Kentucky, saw growth rates above 5 percent while Nevada experienced a meteoric 32.43 percent growth in jobs in large part because of growth in battery-storage jobs related to Tesla’s Gigafactory.
Other key findings:
• Solar alone employs more than twice the number of coal workers.
• Wind and solar account for nearly 2 out of every 5 construction jobs in the electric generation sector.
• Not included in the clean vehicles sector are 486,000 employees in the motor vehicle industry who work with parts making vehicles more fuel efficient.
• Jobs in grid modernization grew 3.3 percent in 2018, adding more than 2,000 jobs.
• More Americans work in energy efficiency (2.3 million) than there are waiters and waitresses in America’s bars and restaurants (2.25 million).
• All but two of America’s 3,007 counties are home to jobs in clean energy.
• More than one out of every three employees working in the energy sector (from traditional energy to motor vehicles) are involved in energy efficiency.
• After two years of losses, solar energy employers predict 8 percent job growth for 2019.
• Two-thirds of U.S. clean energy jobs (67%) are involved in construction and manufacturing.
• There are now more Americans working in clean energy than there are school teachers.
Source: Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2)