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DOE Report Finds Clean Energy Jobs Growing Again

July 8, 2022
U.S. Energy and Employment Report says more than 50,000 new energy-efficiency jobs were created in 2021, after steep, pandemic-related declines in 2020.

By KAYLYN MILLER, U.S. Green Building Council

On June 28, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) released the 2022 U.S. Energy and Employment Report (USEER), a qualitative study designed to analyze annual employment trends across energy sectors. According to the report, while overall energy jobs experienced growth in 2021, the energy efficiency (EE) sector, which employs over 2.1 million workers and is the largest source of clean energy jobs in the country, has not bounced back to pre-COVID-19 levels.

The energy efficiency industry was severely impacted by the pandemic, losing approximately 271,719 jobs in 2020. Since then, the sector has started to recover, adding 57,741 new jobs around the country in 2021 with a growth rate of just under 3%.

The energy efficiency industry has historically provided a good source of well-paying, accessible jobs for U.S. workers in building trades such as construction, HVAC, and manufacturing of high-efficiency equipment and materials. With the nation pledged to reach economy-wide net zero emissions by 2050, supporting the development of these jobs will play an important role in diversifying our energy sources, protecting our environment and stimulating economic growth in the near future.

“Amidst the unique challenges of a nation coming out of a global pandemic, America’s energy sector stands out with considerable job growth across nearly all industries,” U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm said in a press release. “DOE’s USEER report shows that jobs critical to our clean energy transition are on the rise and poised for continued expansion thanks to the historic investments from the president’s bipartisan infrastructure law.”

Energy efficiency jobs are expected to grow.

Several federal initiatives could help with investments for energy efficiency jobs and programs. Under the bipartisan infrastructure law that President Biden signed in November, DOE will receive $62 billion to expand access to energy efficiency; to deliver reliable, clean and affordable power to more communities; and to support the development of clean technologies, including through workforce development and training.

Additionally, the budget reconciliation legislation under consideration in Congress could include billions of dollars in federal tax incentives and other funding for energy efficiency upgrades and clean energy technologies across the country.

These investments could significantly expand the efficiency and renewable energy sectors, supporting the creation of thousands of jobs and significantly reducing our country’s commercial and residential emissions and energy consumption.

Other green sectors also show notable job growth.

According to the report, total U.S. energy sector jobs increased by 4% in 2021, outperforming overall U.S. employment, which rose only 2.8% during the same period. Overall, the energy sector added 300,000 jobs, increasing from 7.5 million jobs in 2020 to 7.8 million in 2021. About 3 million of these jobs, around 40% of all energy jobs, are in areas aligned with net zero goals, furthering the U.S.’s work toward carbon neutrality.

Other energy industries, such as the electric vehicle and renewable energy sectors, also experienced significant job growth:

  • Electric vehicles jobs increased by 26.2%, adding 21,961 new jobs;
  • Hybrid electric vehicle jobs increased by 19.7%, adding 23,5777 new jobs;
  • Solar energy jobs increased by 5.4%, adding 17,212 new jobs;
  • Wind energy jobs increased by 2.9%, adding 3,347 new jobs;
  • Transmission, distribution and storage jobs increased by 1.9%, adding 22,779 new jobs.

To download the DOE report, click here.