• Clean energy employment represents a bright spot in rural communities that have otherwise lost population and jobs
  • Growth in clean energy jobs outpacing overall hiring across Midwest (6%)

Washington, DC – (May 10, 2018) –  A new analysis from the national, nonpartisan business group E2 (Environmental Entrepreneurs) finds rural clean energy job growth is outpacing economy-wide job growth in most Midwest states. While the report focuses only on 12 Midwest states, it’s findings highlight the impact clean energy industries increasingly have on America’s rural economies if states and the federal government embrace policies that encourage further investment and development.

“Contrary to what many politicians may claim, rural America exemplifies the growth and impact clean energy can have on economies all across the U.S.,” said Micaela Preskill, E2 Midwest States Advocate. “While many rural areas are experiencing economic hardships, clean energy is fast becoming a vital job engine that cannot be ignored by policymakers and business leaders in the Midwest.”

Based on data from Clean Jobs Midwest, Clean Jobs Rural America continues E2’s leadership in tracking clean energy job growth since 2011. The report specifically analyzed data in rural and urban areas to understand how solar, wind, geothermal, energy efficiency, and other clean energy industries are impacting the economies of rural areas nationwide— even as they are facing otherwise flat or negative growth in many other sectors.

According to the report, more residents are now employed in clean energy than by fossil fuel power plants, extraction, refinement, and transportation combined in 11 of 12 Midwest states. The difference is even more pronounced in rural areas where clean energy jobs make up a greater portion of total rural employment, with North Dakota the lone exception.

Other key findings include:

  • Majority of Midwest states have more clean energy jobs per capita in rural areas than urban ones
  • Clean energy employment represents a bright spot in rural communities that have otherwise lost population and jobs
  • Clean energy jobs in the Midwest are growing 6% a year
  • 99% of U.S. wind capacity is in rural areas
  • Nearly 150,000 rural Midwesterners work in clean energy, including almost 22,000 in renewable energy generation
  • More than 8,000 new rural clean energy jobs were added in rural Midwest areas in 2016 alone

The report also emphasizes the importance federal investment in rural communities can play, pointing to how U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) programs such as the Rural Energy Assistance Program and the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Loan Program have helped support clean energy development in rural communities.

“Energy markets are largely policy-driven. If we want to continue to see growth transformning rural economies, we have to continue to provide policy based market signals,” said Grant Carlisle, E2 Advocacy Director. “These programs have been vital in driving the clean energy boom we are seeing in these states and should be supported by lawmakers wanting to increase job opportunities in rural areas that are facing economic challenges.”

To speak with E2 members and business leaders in these states who support strong investment in clean energy and their impact on rural economies, please contact Michael Timberlake at (202) 289-2407.

More information about E2’s clean energy jobs research can be found at www.e2.org/reports.

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Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) is a national, nonpartisan group of business leaders, investors, and professionals from every sector of the economy who advocate for smart policies that are good for the economy and good for the environment. Our members have founded or funded more than 2,500 companies, created more than 600,000 jobs, and manage more than $100 billion in venture and private equity capital. For more information, see www.e2.org or follow us on Twitter at @e2org.