Renewable energy is changing the workforce as jobs in this sector are accelerating. Because of dropping technology costs, more demand, and supportive policies around renewable energy, this industry is booming and that means more opportunities for the workforce. Clean energy, with renewable energy jobs being the largest type, remains the biggest job creator across America’s energy sector, employing nearly three times as many workers as those who work in fossil fuel extraction and generation.
Let’s review some facts
We are going to take a deeper look at some facts behind jobs in renewable energy to better understand how renewable energy is changing the workforce.
- Renewable energy employs almost the same number of people as the U.S. telecommunications industry, with about 3 million Americans working in clean energy and about 500,000 of those in renewable energy.
- More Americans work in clean energy than those who work as middle and elementary school teachers, bankers, farmers or real estate agents.
- Clean energy was a critical component of the economy in 2020, accounting for 2.2 percent of total U.S. employment or more than one in every 50 American workers.
- The most rapidly growing renewable energy jobs are in the wind and solar energy sectors.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics forecast that America’s two fastest-growing jobs through 2026 will be solar installer (105% growth) and wind technician (96% growth).
- Median hourly wages for clean energy jobs are about 25 percent higher than the national median wage.
- Jobs in this sector are one of the most geographically diverse employment sectors in the entire economy, with workers in 99.9% of all U.S. counties.
- California, Texas, New York and Florida are the nation’s leaders for clean energy jobs, but smaller states such as Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan and Ohio all employed more than 100,000 clean energy workers each at the end of 2020.
What is causing renewable energy to change the workforce?
Renewable energy is changing the workforce for a multitude of reasons. We are going to review a few of the main driving factors behind the growth in these jobs.
- When it comes to energy, renewable energy plants are less expensive than other forms of energy. Building new renewable energy is cheaper than running existing coal plants. By 2025, almost every existing coal plant in the United States will cost more to operate than building replacement wind and solar alternatives within 35 miles of each plant.
- There has been a decline in coal being used for energy, and renewable energy sources are working to fill that void. U.S. coal consumption fell 4% in 2018 to its lowest point in 39 years due to accelerating coal plant closures and reduced coal plant utilization.
- Coal plants are able to be converted to solar and wind energy plants, making them appealing because they have existing energy grid infrastructure.
- States have set targets to transition to clean energy, driving a need a for jobs. Multiple states and utilities have 100% clean energy goals, creating new demand for workers to build solar panels and wind turbines.
- Clean energy jobs offer higher wages than the national average, and are broadly available to workers without college degrees, according to new Brookings Institution research.
It’s safe to say that renewable energy is changing the workforce. At Mackinnon & Partners we are founded on a wealth of Energy sector experience; we have a vision of becoming the premier provider of global recruitment solutions to the Renewable Energy & Technology sector.
We aim to provide first class candidates to a variety of emerging and established markets with a wealth of knowledge in the renewables, oil and gas, and construction industries both on and offshore.
With vast experience in energy recruitment, we have adapted to the complex, ever-changing modern marketplace by expanding into emerging renewables and technology recruitment, vendor management, and other workforce solutions around the globe. With a comprehensive understanding of each client’s needs, we deliver necessary staffing resources on time and on budget.