Jobs are one of the biggest sources of economic stimulation.
While 131,000 clean
energy jobs in the Midwest were lost due to COVID-19, they are beginning to
return. Clean energy jobs offer unique opportunities that are helping to keep
the country going. Here are just four reasons we think clean energy jobs are
1. Clean energy jobs have a wide reach.
Jobs within the clean energy sector
cast a wide net, including energy efficiency, renewable energy, advanced transportation,
grid and storage and clean fuels. In the renewable energy sector, jobs can be
found in industries that include transportation and shipping, law, finance,
technology and many more.
In the shipping industry, for example, workers are needed to move
wind components from the ships to the various ground transportation vehicles. One
highly specialized job specific to the wind industry is called a stevedore. Stevedores
are specially trained to take blades off the ship, store them and then load the
specialized trucks that transport them to a project. At Michigan’s Port Fisher,
over 40 stevedores oversee and
handle these operations. When turbine blades arrive in a port, this also
creates a ripple effect for the surrounding community as these workers fill up
hotels and housing complexes and dine at local eateries.
Other industries that support clean
energy with great jobs include professions like legal and financial services, utilities,
operations and manufacturing jobs.
2. Clean energy jobs provide stability.
Clean energy jobs provide
family-supporting wages and opportunities for advancement that can build a
foundation for a lasting career. About 250,000 Americans currently work in the solar
industry, and 120,000 people are employed
in the wind industry. Solar installer
is the fastest growing profession in the country, and pays an average annual
salary of $44,890. Wind turbine technician follows
as the second fastest growing job in the country and holds an average annual salary of $52,910. The U.S. wind industry also creates new
manufacturing jobs every year. Currently, over 26,000 Americans work in a
high-quality job in over 530 manufacturing facilities in 43 states.
Clean energy jobs also create stable, family-supporting opportunities
for the country’s veterans. According to the American Wind Energy Association
(AWEA), veterans make up 11 percent of the total clean energy workforce. The
U.S. wind industry proudly creates more jobs for veterans than any other
industry in the nation. In fact, veterans are hired for a direct wind job at a
rate over 67
percent higher than the average U.S. industry.
expansion of the renewable energy industry has boosted other industries that
were struggling to stay afloat, especially during the pandemic. An estimated 2.3 million clean energy
workers are employed with companies that received Paycheck Protection Program
loans. Minnesota-based Anderson Trucking Service has spent the
last 20 years becoming the nation’s largest on-the-ground transporter of wind
turbine parts. Millions of dollars were spent acquiring specialized equipment
and hiring drivers. Despite the losses from the COVID-19 pandemic, 12,300 loads
have been delivered in the first eight months of this year, which already
exceeds last year’s 8,300 trips.
3. Clean energy jobs boost rural communities.
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According to Clean Jobs Midwest, more than one in five clean energy jobs in 2019 were located in rural
areas – the equivalent of more than 158,000 jobs. Farmers who lease
their land to renewable energy developers also reap important financial benefits.
In fact, hosting a project can help keep a farm in the family. In 2018, it was reported
that wind farms improved finances in more than 400 counties across 41 states.
By the end of 2019, landowners received $912
million in lease payments. Wind and solar projects also produce a good
amount of production or property tax revenue, which goes back to host
communities. This allows many counties to invest in infrastructure projects, improving
schools, and even keeping the lid on tax levies for residents.
In its first year alone, taxes generated from
wind projects provided over $2 million for a Ford County, Illinois school district. With these
funds, the district was able to hire more teachers, improve buildings, and
upgrade technology. In Benton County, Indiana, nearby wind farms provided
funding for emergency vehicle upgrades, as well as training for EMT’s to become
paramedics. In addition, over $1 million of this tax revenue was used toward a $6.2
million project to a run fiber optic line that provides residents with access
to high speed, low-cost internet.
4. Clean energy jobs are aiding in the
Clean energy jobs were blossoming before the COVID-19
pandemic. However, there are signs that they are bouncing
back. According to a BW
research study, the renewable energy sector saw a 3.5 percent growth
rate in June 2020, and more than 100,000 clean energy jobs were added that
Minnesota, the projected growth rate of wind technician jobs between 2014 and
2024 is 108
Some utilities across the Midwest are rolling out new investments to aid in the
COVID-19 recovery. In Minnesota, Xcel Energy accelerated $3
billion in energy investments to create 5,000 new jobs in the state. Solar
was also deemed an “essential service” in the state, which
allowed installers to go back to work. Wind was also ruled as essential in
other states. In Illinois, utilities are planning to contribute $47 million to a
COVID-19 Bill Pay Assistance Program.
Before the pandemic, clean energy jobs were growing twice as
fast as the overall economy. Despite the COVID-19 setback, clean energy jobs
are still offering amazing opportunities. Utilities continue to invest in
renewable energy because it’s a reliable, low-cost resource and has the added
benefit of helping reduce carbon from our atmosphere. The growth of renewable
energy also provides landowners with a cash crop that provides much-needed
economic diversity during times when crop prices are low. At the same time,
renewable energy is employing thousands of professionals with good-paying jobs
that help support families in all 50 states. That’s why clean energy jobs are