Nearly 3.3 million Americans now work in clean energy in every state in the country, according to E2’s just-released 2019 Clean Jobs America report.
That’s more people than work as school teachers or as waiters and waitresses — and it’s nearly three times the number of Americans that work in fossil fuels.
Led by big gains in energy efficiency, clean vehicles and clean energy storage, overall clean energy jobs grew by a healthy 3.6 percent last year, outpacing most other occupations, according to E2’s analysis.
That’s the good news.
The bad news is that the Trump administration’s anti-clean energy policies — solar panel tariffs, planned rollbacks of vehicle mileage and emissions standards, delays of energy efficiency standards — are already impacting some sectors of the clean energy economy, and are casting foreboding shadows over others.
According to the E2 analysis, solar industry jobs fell for the second year in a row last year, declining about 4 percent to about 335,000 jobs when positions that spend any time working on solar are included. The solar industry attributes the industry’s job losses to the impacts of the Trump administration’s ongoing tariffs on solar panels.
Fortunately, strong gains in other clean energy sectors helped offset the losses in solar.
About 76,000 jobs were added in energy efficiency at companies that make our buildings and heating and air conditioning systems more efficient; produce and install high-efficiency LED lighting and manufacture Energy Star appliances and equipment. Energy efficiency continues to be the biggest part of the clean energy economy, employing more than 2.3 million Americans.
Wind energy added 4,200 new jobs in 2018 as states and utilities across the country continue to realize that wind energy is now the cheapest form of electricity in most markets. Today about 111,000 Americans work in wind energy.
But the big news was in clean vehicles and clean energy storage.
Driven by growing consumer demand, the number of jobs in clean vehicles manufacturing increased by almost 16 percent last year. About 254,000 American now work at companies building hybrid, electric and other clean vehicles, while another 486,000 work in companies that manufacture parts that make our cars and trucks more efficient.
Jobs in energy storage grew by 14 percent to 75,000 jobs, as utilities, business and consumers deployed more batteries in electric vehicles and with solar and wind installations. No place experienced the boost in batteries more than Nevada, where Tesla’s Gigafactory battery plant helped drive a 32 percent increase in overall clean energy jobs in that state.
Smart state policies were behind much of the growth in clean energy last year.
Many of the Top 10 states for clean energy jobs — including California, New York, Michigan, Illinois, North Carolina and Virginia — have recently passed major climate and clean energy policies. They’ve done so because they know such policies will create local jobs, attract new investments and drive economic growth, all while helping our environment and combatting climate change.
Regrettably, the Trump administration and its allies continue to ignore or dismiss the benefits of clean energy while keeping America shackled to oil, gas and coal. (Coal jobs, incidentally, continued to fall sharply last year.)
Solar panel tariffs are just the start.
Under Trump administration’s Department of Energy continues to delay energy efficiency standards for appliances, equipment and other goods, hurting companies and consumers — and threatening future job growth in energy efficiency.
Meanwhile, the White House continues to plan to rollback commonsense automobile mileage and emissions standards, even though doing so will impact tens of thousands of jobs making more efficient vehicles (not to mention the pocketbooks of consumers and businesses with every fill-up) and even though carmakers don’t want these rollbacks.
Hopefully, members of Congress will get wise and stop the Trump administration’s clean energy job-killing policies. As the E2 analysis shows, every state, county and congressional district is now home to a growing number of clean energy jobs. Ignoring the impacts of the administration’s attacks on climate and clean energy policies means ignoring those jobs and workers back home.
E2’s Clean Jobs America analysis and report is based on the recently released U.S. Energy and Employment Report (USEER) that is produced by the National Association of State Energy Officials and Energy Future Initiative. E2 is a sponsor of the USEER report, which tracks all energy jobs, clean and dirty.
Clean Energy Jobs Continue to Grow — but so do Threats from Trump Administration was originally published in e2org on Medium.