The Environmental Entrepreneurs, a national nonpartisan group of business owners and investors who advocate for good environmental policies, discussed their Clean Energy Jobs Report. The organization believed that clean energy and clean transportation projects will be a major factor in American job creation and, ultimately, economic growth.
This is a significant finding that is great for all those looking for positions in the field. Employment is strong due to projects created in 2015 and 2016 in 22 states, producing almost 10,500 jobs.
· With 8,826 positions, the Renewable Energy sector showed the highest number, broken down to 6,450 for solar generation, 2,183 for wind generation, and 193 for biofuels. Much of the growth came from the favorable government policies and the lowered cost of materials. Manufacturing of advanced vehicle as well as solar and wind technology yielded 1,075 openings with 570 jobs in other industries, such as recycling and smart grids.
· With 2,164 jobs, Texas led the list of states offering the most jobs. Nevada came in second with 1,900 positions, and California was third with 1,200. Other states in the top ten employment list include Utah, North Carolina, Kansas, Arkansas, Colorado and Virginia (tied), and Nebraska.
· Interestingly, Michigan, which used to appear consistently on this list, including a fifth place ranking in the first quarter of 2015, disappeared. This was primarily due to state lawmakers threatening to roll back clean energy standards.
· Major projects in Texas include two new wind farms producing nearly 402 megawatts of power and 300 positions in a new manufacturing plant for wind turbines in Amarillo.
· In Nevada, three solar farms, producing 134 MW, 150 MW, and 200 MW are adding 1,900 construction jobs. They will produce enough clean energy for 132,000 residences. The projects are notable because they are being built on public lands in what is known as the Dry Lake Solar Energy Zone. These lands form part of 19 solar energy zones designated in 2013 across six Western states. They boast “high energy development potential but minimal harmful impacts.” Companies interested in developing projects in these lands get faster permitting through specific types of plans. Instead of the typical 18 months, approvals only took 10 months
· Companies not normally associated with energy production are also providing environmental job opportunities through such initiatives as deriving most or all of their infrastructure power, such as for data servers, from renewable energy. They include Apple, Facebook, and Amazon. For example, Amazon announced that it plans to power its Northern Virginia data centers using energy coming from a new 80 MW solar facility in Virginia, which will be the state’s largest solar project. Construction of the facility is expected to create 300 to 400 position and to add five full-time jobs when completed.
If you’re interested in more information about how you can find these and/or any other employment opportunities in other locations, there are many resources available through staffing agencies that can give you some direction.