US clean energy jobs grew 3.6 percent in 2018, outnumber fossil fuel jobs 3-to-1

A new analysis of energy jobs in the U.S. shows clean energy jobs grew 3.6 percent in 2018, adding about 110,000 new net jobs. Clean energy jobs now outnumber fossil fuel jobs by a nearly 3-to-1 ratio.

The analysis comes from nonpartisan business group E2 (Environmental Entrepreneurs), which found clean energy jobs increased in nearly every state last year. E2 notes the growth occurred “despite the impact of the Trump administration’s tariffs on solar panels and market uncertainty from the administration’s inaction and planned rollbacks of energy efficiency and clean vehicles policies.”

E2 groups clean energy jobs into seven categories, with the total job count listed at the end:

  • Energy Efficiency – 2,324,865 jobs
  • Renewable Energy – 508,484 jobs
  • Solar Energy – 334,992 jobs
  • Wind Energy – 111,166 jobs
  • Clean Vehicle – 253,599 jobs
  • Clean Storage – 74,569 jobs
  • Grid Modernization – 64,377 jobs
  • ALL US Clean Energy Sectors – 3,264,383 jobs

Keep in mind, E2’s broad “energy efficiency” category includes not just construction workers, but those who work on ENERGY STAR appliances, HVAC, advanced building materials, efficient lighting, and more.

The “big story” last year, E2 says, came in the Clean Vehicles and Clean Storage categories:

“Driven by growing consumer demand, the number of jobs in clean vehicles manufacturing increased by 16 percent. About 254,000 Americans now work at companies building hybrid, electric and other clean vehicles, while another 486,000 Americans work in companies that manufacture parts that make vehicles more efficient.

Energy storage saw a 14 percent increase in jobs as utilities, businesses and consumers deployed more batteries in EVs and with solar and wind installations, while grid modernization jobs grew by 3.3 percent.”

E2 notes its number for clean vehicles doesn’t include those 486,000 Americans who “work in companies that manufacture parts that make vehicles more efficient.”

More Highlights

The group projects the U.S. will again become the world’s largest storage market, due to state incentives, residential solar storage, and increased market certainty in utility-scale storage. E2 also believes lithium-ion battery installations will increase 800 percent from 2018 to 2022, powered by increasing EV adoption and home installations.

All but two counties in the entire U.S. are now home to at least some clean energy jobs. The top ten states for clean energy jobs are listed below:

top clean energy job states


E2 points out the solar industry now employs more than double the amount of coal workers in the U.S. Solar jobs declined last year, but almost everyone in the industry expects a rebound this year. Wind and solar now account for almost two out of every five construction jobs in electric generation.

There are now 10 states which generate more than 20 percent of their electricity from wind and solar: Kansas, Iowa, Oklahoma, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, California, Maine, Colorado, and Minnesota. The combined capacity of wind and solar in the U.S. reached 156 GW in 2018.

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