Clean Energy Growth Trend Upended
The widespread layoffs in clean energy risk derailing an industry that was leading the country in job creation, and Massachusetts is among the hardest hit states. At the start of 2020, clean energy employment increased for the fifth straight year, growing to nearly 3.4 million workers nationwide. Renewable energy led the way, increasing 3.2 percent to about 523,000 jobs.
Energy efficiency continues to be the single largest section of the clean energy economy, employing 2.4 million Americans at the end of 2019, up 2.3 percent from 2018 despite federal rollbacks and delays of energy efficiency standards. But the March layoffs are just the first indication of how badly the clean energy industry will be hit by the crisis, with the analysis projecting that more than 500,000 clean energy workers—15 percent of the entire clean energy workforce—will lose their jobs in the months ahead, unless Congress and the Trump administration take quick and substantive action.
Bob Keefe, executive director of the national, nonpartisan business group E2, says, “What these numbers tell us is that clean energy workers are a huge and important part of America’s workforce—and they are hurting badly. Lawmakers simply cannot ignore the millions of electricians, technicians and factory workers who work in clean energy as they consider ongoing economic recovery efforts—especially since we know from our country’s last economic meltdown that clean energy can lead the way to recovery.”
Source: American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE)