Although the United States government may be rolling back on certain environmental protections, it’s clear that Americans are still passionate about energy conservation. That’s particularly true in the Midwest where, as one recent study showed, an overwhelming number of residents work in the clean energy sector — giving many hope for the future.
In an analysis conducted by the Clean Energy Trust (CET) and nonpartisan business group E2 (Environmental Entrepreneurs), it was revealed that 714,000 Midwesterners now work in the clean energy industry. According to the U.S. Department of Labor Employment Statistics, that means that this sector actually employs more individuals than all the web developers, computer programmers, lawyers, and waitstaff in this region combined.
The realm of energy efficiency was by far the sector with the largest number of employees, with more than a half-million workers in the area. And while nearly 250,000 Americans work in the solar power industry across the nation, more than 83,000 Midwesterners are currently working in renewable energy fields like solar and wind power. Approximately 39% of clean energy jobs can be found in the construction sector, which has the potential to be a lucrative statistic, as the total U.S. construction market was worth around $1,162 billion in 2016. Around 30,000 Midwesterners are working in energy storage and grid modernization, while 80,000 workers are employed by clean vehicle industries.
Notably, the state of Michigan is leading the way in clean energy employment. At the end of last year, Michigan, Ohio, and Illinois all had more than 100,000 jobs in these areas. In this recent analysis, more than 122,000 Michigan residents were found to work in clean energy industries within every county. Most of Michigan’s clean energy jobs can be found in Oakland, Wayne, and Macomb counties, which boast anywhere from 12,000 to 30,000 clean energy positions. Grand Rapids and Detroit have a combined 63,945 clean energy jobs, and the state’s rural areas added around 24,512 jobs to the equation.
As Detroit-based Next Energy’s president and CEO, Jim Saber, told MITechNews, “Clean energy needs to be seen as the economic driver it is and hopefully this new report can get that message across to Michigan’s leaders and voters. As someone who has worked in this space for decades, I can see the growing impact the sector has on jobs and why it’s continued growth is vital to our 21st century economy.”
Job totals and other detailed information can be found at CleanJobsMidwest.com, and additional information included in E2’s clean energy job report is available at www.e2.og/reports.