March 19th, 2019 by Joshua S Hill
There are nearly 3.3 million Americans now working in the clean energy industry across every state in the country, according to a new analysis by the national nonpartisan business group E2 (Environmental Entrepreneurs) published last week, an increase of 3.6%.
Specifically, clean energy jobs accounted for over 3.26 million at the end of 2018 according to E2, with increases in nearly every state combining to add around 110,000 net new jobs for a growth rate of 3.6%. This, despite the impact of the imposition at the beginning of 2018 by President Donald Trump of tariffs on imported solar panels, as well as in the face of uncertainty from the Trump administration’s overall inaction and planned rollbacks of energy efficiency and clean vehicle policies.
In fact — and flying further in the face of the Trump administration — clean energy jobs now outnumber fossil fuel jobs nearly three-to-one (3.26 million to 1.17 million). Further, clean energy employers expect a 6% job growth in 2019, further ridiculing the Trump administration’s policies, plans, and promises.
Two clean energy sectors in particular saw significant job increases, with the clean energy storage sector seeing jobs increase by 14% and the clean vehicles sector seeing jobs increase by 15%. These sectors have been bolstered by state expansions of charging infrastructure, falling battery prices, and increased solar+storage adoption. At the end of 2018, the clean storage sector’s jobs sat at 75,000 — its highest ever level — while the clean vehicles sector held 254,000 jobs.
“Clean energy jobs continued to grow across the country in 2018,” said Bob Keefe, E2 executive director. “But this growth is in jeopardy because of misguided Trump policies such as tariffs on solar panels and rollbacks of popular fuel economy and energy efficiency standards. The 3.3 million Americans who now work in clean energy industries – and all of us – are counting on Congress to take action that helps this giant sector continue to expand our economy. America’s ability to lead the world in innovation and compete globally in this booming market depends on it.”
According to E2, energy efficiency added the most new jobs in 2018 of any energy industry, accounting for half of the sector’s total job increase, driven by construction and manufacturing which employ 1.3 million and 321,000 respectively. Overall, energy efficiency-related jobs account for more than one out of every six US construction jobs.
Unfortunately, solar jobs fell for the second year in a row, dropping by nearly 15,000 in 2018 — with approximately 90% of solar job losses occurring in California and Massachusetts, while 18 other states saw solar jobs actually increase. Conversely, wind energy jobs increased by 3.5% in 2018. Nevertheless, solar remains the top US job provider in electric power generation, leading natural gas by more than 200,000 jobs.
“This jobs report is consistent with the findings in The Solar Foundation’s 2018 National Solar Jobs Census, and our assessment of the impact that unnecessary tariffs are having on US solar jobs,” said Dan Whitten, vice president of public affairs for the Solar Energy Industries Association, who commented via email. “The evidence is clear: The Section 201 tariffs have caused the loss of thousands of American jobs and billions of dollars in U.S. investment and should be reversed by the Trump administration before more Americans lose their jobs.”