The national news has been focused lately on some high profile renewable energy failures. But they’ve been missing out on the bigger picture: clean energy jobs, powered by energy efficiency, are growing and here to stay. A recent report from Mark Muro and Jonathan Rothwell of the Brookings Institution shows that clean energy jobs are a robust and growing source of employment across the nation. According to the report, “The clean economy, which employs some 2.7 million workers, encompasses a significant number of jobs in establishments spread across a diverse group of industries.”
Since 2003, energy efficiency has been a leader in job growth in the clean economy sector, adding over 120,000 jobs. If you include energy-saving building materials, green architecture and construction, professional energy savings, and HVAC and building controls, that figures rises to over 200,000 new jobs. And these jobs pay well, with a median wage 13 percent higher than the overall U.S. median wage. This is especially impressive in light of the current poor economic situation.
States in the Northeast get this. They have placed their bets on energy efficiency and clean energy as a big part of their economic future. This could be a major job creator in the years to come. Environment Northeast found as part of its “Energy Efficiency: Engine of Economic Growth” report that states with robust levels of investment in energy efficiency electric, natural gas, and unregulated fuel savings programs could generate over 80,000 new jobs in New England alone. That’s a significant number of “green shoots.” NEEP plans to work with our partners to help get a better picture of the growth of energy efficiency jobs in the region and help keep this engine of economic growth moving.