Clean energy employs more Americans than fossil production in almost every U.S. state, and produces more than 2.5 times as many jobs across the country, according to analysis released by the Sierra Club on the eve of the Trump administration’s executive order aimed at dismantling President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan.
“Clean energy jobs already overwhelm dirty fuels in nearly every state across America, and that growth is only going to continue as clean energy keeps getting more affordable and accessible by the day,” said Executive Director Michael Brune. “These facts make it clear that Donald Trump is attacking clean energy jobs purely in order to boost the profits of fossil fuel billionaires.”
The analysis shows clean energy jobs outpacing fossils in all but nine states. “Some of largest discrepancies between clean energy jobs and fossil fuel jobs were in states like Florida, Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Indiana, where jobs in renewable energy ‘vastly exceeded jobs in the fossil fuel industry,’” Think Progress notes. “Many of these places also happen to be states that helped Trump win the presidential election in November.”
But even though clean energy employment has grown 12 times faster than the rest of the U.S. economy, the country’s share of global renewable energy employment lags behind countries like China and Brazil. And “the Trump administration, in contrast to China, has shown little interest in spurring innovation or job creation in the renewable industry,” writes correspondent Natasha Geiling.
“It’s clear this administration is talking about energy jobs the wrong way,” Brune said. “If we truly want to grow our economy, reduce air and water pollution, protect public health, and create huge numbers of new jobs for American workers, we must seize the opportunity that is right in front of our eyes: invest more in clean energy, including solar, wind, storage, and energy efficiency.”
Midwest Energy News spotlights an example of the trend in the heart of the U.S. Rust Belt, citing employment data released yesterday by The Solar Foundation. In Cleveland, solar industry jobs doubled last year, accounting for about half of the state’s total job growth in the sector.
“Ohio’s solar industry produced US$1.3 billion in direct sales and employed 5,831 people in 2016—a 21% jump in job numbers compared to 2015,” MWEN reports. “In contrast, Michigan had about 4,000 solar jobs, and Indiana was just shy of 3,000.”
Women hold 43% of the solar jobs across the state, and every position in the industry supports 1.31 spin-off jobs across the state economy, said the foundation’s president and executive director, Andrea Luecke.
“Diversity and inclusion is important,” she said. “It’s an ideal to strive for. And companies that hire more women, or more minorities, or more veterans, tend to be more innovative, tend to have wider [profit] margins, tend to be more competitive.”