Even though President Trump and the newly appointed head of the EPA Scott Pruitt are attacking the Clean Power Plan, jobs reports in the clean energy sector tell a different story. The 2017 U.S. Energy and Employment Report finds that the Traditional Energy and Energy Efficiency sectors today employ approximately 6.4 million Americans. These sectors increased in 2016 by just under 5 percent, adding over 300,000 net new jobs, roughly 14% of all those created in the country. This report analyzes four sectors of the U.S. economy. These include electric power generation, transmission, distribution and storage, energy efficiency, and motor vehicles.
Electric Power Generation and Fuels technologies directly employ more than 1.9 million workers. In 2016, 1.1 million of these employees worked in traditional coal, oil, and gas. Almost 800,000 workers were employed in low carbon emission generation technologies, including renewables, nuclear, and low emission natural gas. Just under 374,000 individuals work for solar firms, with more than 260,000 of those employees spending the majority of their time on solar. There are an additional 102,000 workers employed at wind farms across the nation. The solar workforce increased by 25% in 2016, while wind employment increased by 32%.
Although coal remains the largest source of electricity in the country, a combination of factors is driving a decrease in profitability and employment in the coal-sector. Meanwhile, the solar industry is growing rapidly in the U.S. and generating many jobs that represent employment opportunities for laid off coal workers. Slightly more than 14,000 megawatts of new solar energy, which was a record, were installed across the U.S. in 2016. Clean energy is also spurring investment in other related new technologies and industries.
According to the Sierra Club, nearly every state in the country has more jobs in clean energy than fossil fuels. Only nine states have more jobs in fossil fuels than in clean energy. Some of the states leading the way in clean energy jobs are Florida, Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Indiana. Many of these places also happen to be states that helped Trump win the presidential election in November. This growth is only going to continue as clean energy keeps getting more affordable and accessible by the day.
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