By Georgia Mae Lively–2/17/2020
As the sustainable energy evolution transforms dependence on fossil fuels to reliance on renewable resources, a question people might have is, “But what about jobs?” As with any major market shift, concerns over potential job losses are perfectly valid as consumers, including Energy Co-op members, increasingly turn towards alternative energy sources. But, as it turns out, fears over jobs in Pennsylvania’s clean energy economy are unfounded, according to the 2019 Clean Jobs PA Report.
According to a report by E2 (Environmental Entrepreneurs), in 2018 and 2019, Pennsylvania’s green job market saw major increases, which contributed to growth in the nation’s overall clean energy economy. Jobs in the sustainable energy sector in Pennsylvania are at an all-time high, following steady increases in years past. In fact, increases in Pennsylvania’s green economy far outpace both that in the conventional energy sector as well as the economy in general.
Here are some key takeaways from E2’s report:
- The clean energy industry is growing and growing faster than its competitors.
Pennsylvania now has roughly 90,000 employees in the green energy industry, which is a 5,000 job increase from E2’s last report in mid-2018. Proportionally, this represents a 6% job growth in the industry, which is five times higher than overall job growth in Pennsylvania for the same period. It is also remarkably higher than the nation’s overall industry job growth, which was only 3.6%. In addition, 33% of energy jobs in Pennsylvania are now in clean energy, and there are twice as many workers in the industry as there are in the fossil fuel sector.
- Energy Efficiency accounts for the vast majority of clean energy jobs in Pennsylvania.
Though energy efficiency may not be the first thing you think of when you think “green jobs”, the industry is a huge source of employment for Pennsylvanians. Of those 90,000 clean energy jobs in the Commonwealth, 77% are in the energy efficiency field. Interested in making your home energy efficient and supporting job growth in Pennsylvania? Check out The Energy Co-op’s energy efficiency audit program here!
- Nearly a third of Pennsylvania’s clean energy jobs are located in the Philadelphia area.
According to E2’s report, 29,428 of the state’s clean energy jobs are located in the Philadelphia metropolitan area. Of those, 2,500 are in renewable energy and 22,735 in energy efficiency. This makes southeastern Pennsylvania a hub for green employment, especially in Chester and Montgomery counties where there are 10-15 jobs per 1,000 employable residents.
- Small businesses are giants in clean energy job creation.
67% of all clean energy workers are employed by businesses with fewer than 20 employees—like The Energy Co-op!
- Pennsylvania is on the cusp of being one of the top ten states for clean energy jobs.
Pennsylvania ranked eleventh in the country last year for number of green jobs, only 4,386 behind Virginia in the number ten spot. Fingers crossed we can make the top ten in 2020!
Overall, Pennsylvanians have done incredible work creating a strong clean energy market in a state with such long-standing ties to the fossil fuel industry. As the energy market continues to evolve, we should all expect to see Pennsylvanians at the forefront of the effort and innovation that will result in jobs, prosperity, and a sustainable energy future.