Solar energy now employs more people than any energy industry in the US besides oil.
A new report shows that wind turbine technician is the fastest growing profession in the United States. This growth is one example of the rise of the clean energy sector. According to the report, which was published by the Environmental Defense Fund’s Climate Corps program, the renewable energy industry now has at least 4 million jobs, up from 3.4 million in 2011. The report further explains that the sector is growing at a rate 12 times higher than the rest of the US economy, and that almost half of all companies have hired new employees to address sustainability issues in the last two years.
This impressive growth contrasts newly elected President Donald Trump’s stance on energy. The president has strongly argued against environmental regulations and has pushed for an increased reliance on fossil fuel production as a promising way to bring jobs to America. “Trump’s current approach is basically ignoring an entire industry that has grown up over the last 10 years or so and is quite robust,” Liz Delaney, program director at EDF Climate Corps, told reporters from Business Insider.
The US Department of Energy’s 2017 Energy and Employment Report suggests that the solar industry now employs more people than any other energy industry besides oil, at 373,807 people. “Our findings would lead us to believe that the right place to invest dollars are in renewable energy rather than fossil fuels,” Delaney says. “These jobs are widely geographically distributed, they’re high paying, they apply to both manufacturing and professional workers, and there are a lot of them.”
Renewable energy is on the rise.
One interesting finding from the EDF report is that 70% of the 2.2 million Americans who work the energy efficiency field are employed by companies with 10 employees or less. “What we’re talking about here are American small businesses,” she says, adding that because many sustainability jobs involve installation, maintenance and construction, they’re harder to outsource.
Delaney believes the trend towards renewable energy and sustainability would be very hard to stop. “I think it’s really all about speed of transition,” she says. “I think the transition will continue, but there’s a role that the federal government can play in supporting that, which is significant.”
source: Business Insider