Clean energy is providing more jobs for Americans than fossil fuel across the country. Big win for team green!
A new report from environmental group Sierra Club shows that clean energy is making its mark in the United States’ economy. We’ve already talked about how investment in green tech seems to be more profitable and cost-efficient than fossil fuels, and people seem to have caught on to the fact. There are now more jobs in the renewable energy sector than in coal, oil, and gas in 41 American states and Washington D.C., the group reports.
So when people think of green energy they probably think wind turbines, solar panels, and maybe dams. But the market as a whole includes a lot of fields, from generation, to storage (which is used to compensate for fluctuations in power output), to smart grid technology applications which make sure as little of the power is wasted as possible. Taken together, these jobs exceed those in the coal, oil, and gas sectors from extraction to processing and power generation. Drawing on job data recorded by the Department of Energy for 2017, Sierra Club found that clean energy jobs outweighed those in fossil fuels by more than 2.5 to one.
“Nationally, clean energy jobs outnumber all fossil fuel jobs by over 2.5 to 1; and they exceed all jobs in gas and coal sectors by 5 to 1,” the paper reads.
“Right now, clean energy jobs already overwhelm dirty fuels in nearly every state across America, and that growth is only going to continue as clean energy keeps getting more affordable and accessible by the day,” said Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune.
“These facts make it clear that Donald Trump is attacking clean energy jobs purely in order to boost the profits of fossil fuel billionaires.”
The report goes on to say that despite the president’s best efforts, clean energy is growing strong in the US, with “over twenty cities nationwide” having set the goal to use 100% clean energy by 2030. The groups also warns that faced with this rapid development, we should be careful “not to make the mistakes of the past”, and ensure that the benefits brought by clean energy are equitably shared instead of pooled by a few individuals or companies.
The way forward
Putting workers and the community first, especially those who depended on fossil fuels in the past, is the way to go, Sierra Club says. The report highlights job stability, opportunities for fair and merit-based upward mobility in the industry, and secure pathways to the middle class for workers as a way to ensure this equitable sharing of benefits.
“This means supporting high road job strategies like responsible trade policies, project labor agreements, community benefits agreements, employer neutrality in union organizing drives, local hire, union apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs, and efforts to open more of those opportunities to communities of color and low-income people,” the paper explains.
“In practice, this means working tirelessly to ensurethat the communities and workers historicallydependent on fossil fuels are prioritized and putfirst at every stage of our ongoing transition to aneconomy powered more fully by clean energy.”
Investment in workforce development should also be a prime focus for the industry, as almost three-quarters of employers across all energy sectors found it difficult to hire skilled workers. The report concludes that policies aimed at investing in and incentivizing clean energy could generate millions of new jobs across America — more than the fossil fuel sector ever could.