US clean energy job creation continues to trickle amidst ongoing federal standstill

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on reddit
Share on email
Renewables is the second hardest-hit sector in US clean energy, behind energy efficiency. Image: Vivint Solar.

New job creation in the US clean energy sector continues to be slow, with just 24,000 jobs added last month, analysis of official figures has found.

That figure equates to around 0.9% growth in the number of people employed within the clean energy space, and October was the fourth straight month that clean energy job creation has amounted to less than 1%.

Analysis compiled on behalf of clean energy groups E2, E4TheFuture and the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) shows that as of the end of last month, some 454,000 clean energy workers remain unemployed going into the end of the year – equivalent to 75% of the US’ total clean energy workforce – as the long tail of the COVID-19 pandemic has continued to be felt.

At the current rate of recovery, it would take more than 18 months for the clean energy sector to reach pre-COVID levels, the assessment has found, and it would not be until 2023 that the clean energy sector’s original projected job creation figure for 2020 is hit.

Clean energy associations have sounded the alarm this month with job creation still lagging behind expectations going into what is historically a quieter time for clean energy deployment in the US, with Thanksgiving next week and the festive season coming shortly after.

The brunt of the blame has been laid at inaction at the federal level. Efforts to enshrine support for clean energy in a US post-COVID stimulus package failed, and the recent US election – which the incumbent President Donald Trump lost – disrupted the legislative process further.

But with Congress now returning, E2 and ACORE have both placed further pressure on representatives to intervene.

“Congress returns from elections as clean energy job growth continues to stall and permanent job losses increase. With stimulus discussions on the table again, Congress can turn this around by passing clean energy tax extenders and making funds available directly to clean energy businesses to help with job growth immediately,” Sandra Purohit, advocacy director at E2, said.

Gregory Wetstone, president and CEO at ACORE, said the pace of recovery stressed the urgency of the situation, while stating that the speed of recovery in renewable energy jobs in particular had been far too slow.

“We need temporary refundability for renewable tax credits so that projects can be completed in spite of a COVID-constrained tax equity market, and a delay in the scheduled phasedown of existing credits in recognition of the adverse nationwide impact the pandemic has had on the renewable sector this year,” he said.

Having lost just under 100,000 jobs between March and May, the US renewables sector witnessed a jump in June when more than 17,000 jobs were created, but since then creation has been in the few-thousand mark. While October was more productive than previous months, less than 4,000 jobs were created and still more than 70,000 jobs remain lost.

Renewables is the second hardest-hit clean energy sector behind energy efficiency.

Data also shows the states to be hardest hit, with almost one-third (30.7%) of Georgia's clean energy workforce still out of work. While subject to a recount, Georgia is projected to have swung to the Democrats in this month’s election, the first time it has done so since 1992.

Read Next

November 24, 2021
The US International Trade Commission has recommended that the Section 201 safeguard tariffs on solar cells and modules be extended.
November 22, 2021
The US House of Representatives has passed Joe Biden’s Build Back Better act, which now moves to the Senate where negotiations will continue over the legislation that includes clean energy and climate investments totalling US$555 billion.
November 15, 2021
US solar manufacturers behind the controversial anti-circumvention petition have said they are “evaluating all options” and could refile petitions in the future.
November 11, 2021
Lightsource bp has started commercial operations at a 163MW solar project in Texas, with military veterans supporting the plant’s construction through an apprenticeship programme.
November 8, 2021
The US House of Representatives has passed a US$1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure deal that will see the country's power infrastructure modernised to support new renewables projects
November 5, 2021
First Solar is actively exploring future capacity manufacturing locations after recording a surge in demand, both domestically and internationally, amidst supply chain obstacles impacting the PV industry.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Solar Media Events
December 1, 2021
Solar Media Events
February 1, 2022
London, UK
Solar Media Events
February 23, 2022
London, UK
Solar Media Events
March 23, 2022
Austin, Texas, USA
Solar Media Events
March 29, 2022
Lisbon, Portugal

Cyber Monday Flash Sale – 50% off our subscriptions

24 hours only