US clean energy jobs grow

The clean-energy sector in the United States of America (US) grew at an impressive rate during 2018 – more than 3,26-million US citizens now work in clean energy throughout the country, according to a new analysis of energy jobs data by the national nonpartisan business group, E2 (Environmental Entrepreneurs).

Nearly every US state saw an increase in clean energy jobs during 2018, combining to add about 110 000 new jobs for a growth rate of 3,6 percent within the sector. Clean energy employers say they anticipate six-percent job growth for 2019.

Two sectors in particular – clean energy storage and clean vehicles – saw the number of jobs increase sharply from last year (14 and 15 percent respectively); driven by growing adoption of electric vehicles by consumers, 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.

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). Jobs related to energy efficiency 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 jobs in wind energy grew by 3,5 percent. However, Solar remains the top US 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.

Other key findings:

  • Solar alone employs more than twice the number of coal workers.
  • Wind and solar account for nearly two out of every five 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 that make vehicles more fuel efficient.
  • Jobs in grid modernisation 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 eight percent job growth for 2019.
  • Two-thirds of US jobs in clean energy (67 percent) are involved in construction and manufacturing.
  • There are now more Americans working in clean energy than there are school teachers.

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