Renewable energy is one of the keys drivers for new jobs in the US. New research from the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) and Navigant Consulting shows that wind industry jobs grew nearly 17 percent to 102,500 direct jobs and is poised to grow to 248,000 jobs, driving $85 billion in economic activity over the next four years, according to new analysis released today by Navigant Consulting.
“American ingenuity and hard work have driven the cost of wind down by two-thirds since 2009, propelling wind to contribute 30 percent of power plant capacity added over the last five years. The policy certainty provided by the 2015 Production Tax Credit phase down has allowed the industry to make long-term investments in the American workforce and manufacturing to further bring costs down,” said Tom Kiernan, CEO of AWEA.
The report is the latest piece of evidence that the renewable energy industry is a jobs powerhouse. In January a Department of Energy report found that solar and wind employed 366,000 at the end of 2016. Of that, 260,000 were solar employees and 106,000 were wind employees, that report found—showing that AWEA’s figures might be a little conservative.
Navigant and AWEA also introduced a white paper, “Wind brings jobs and economic development to all 50 states,” showing the results of study. The white paper also looked at the figures another way, which showed that the potential jobs outlook is even higher if the industry installs 35 more gigawatts of wind power by the end of 2020 as expected. In terms of direct and indirect job years, the wind industry could employ 865,000 people between 2017 and 2020.
“Growing wind energy revitalizes America’s rural areas and Rust Belt manufacturing centers,”Kiernan said. Indeed in states like Iowa and Indiana it’s a strong jobs creator where its needed as other industries have dried up. “With over 100,000 jobs today, the industry is just getting started. This new analysis projects the industry could drive nearly a quarter million jobs by 2020, with $85 billion in economic activity over the next four years alone.”
“Rural areas that sorely need investment will be the largest beneficiaries of this growth, with 99 percent of wind projects located in rural areas today,” AWEA stated. Over the next four years Navigant estimated wind development will pay over $8 billion in taxes to local communities in such regions.Tweet