Clean Energy Jobs Overwhelm
Coal, Oil & Gas in 41 States and D.C.
As attacks against the Clean Power Plan and other
clean energy policies escalate, a new Sierra Club
analysis of Department of Energy
the energy sector demonstrates the key role of clean
energy in supporting the American workforce.
Clean energy jobs, including from solar, wind,
energy efficiency, smart grid technology and battery
storage, vastly outnumber all fossil fuel jobs
nationally from the coal, oil and gas sectors. That
includes jobs in power generation, mining, and
Nationally, clean energy jobs outnumber all fossil
fuel jobs by over 2.5 to 1; and they exceed all jobs in
coal and gas by 5 to 1.
The analysis also demonstrates that 41 states and
Washington, D.C. (80% of the total) have more
clean energy jobs than fossil fuel jobs from all
Some of the widest gaps where clean energy jobs
vastly exceed fossil fuels jobs are in major economies
like Florida, North Carolina, Michigan, Virginia,
Wisconsin, Georgia, Ohio, Tennessee,
Pennsylvania and Indiana. Right now, only nine
states have more jobs in fossil fuels than in clean
energy, while only six states have more jobs in coal
and gas than clean energy — and the growth of
clean energy suggests that won’t be the case for
All the data used in this analysis, which is entirely
based on Department of Energy 2017
, is provided open source
Policy makers often incorrectly assume or speak as
though energy jobs mean coal, oil and gas jobs
exclusively. In fact, it’s clear that the energy jobs of
both the present and the future are overwhelmingly
in the clean energy sector.
Policies to incentivize and invest in clean energy
have the potential to create millions of new jobs
across the United States, far in excess of the reality
and potential of the fossil fuel sector.
Meanwhile, attacks on landmark policies designed
to further spur the clean energy economy - like the
Clean Power Plan (CPP) - are deeply misguided if
they aim to grow the economy and create jobs, as
they will actually be counterproductive to that end.
THE PATH FORWARD:
Jobs in clean energy already dominate the energy
job space, and our transition to an economy
powered clean energy is only still in its early stages.
With progress proceeding full speed ahead at the
state and local level, so much more is on the way.
For example, over twenty cities nationwide ranging
from Salt Lake City, Utah to Georgetown, Texas
have set a goal of achieving 100 percent clean energy
by 2030, and states like Massachusetts and
California are considering legislation to do the
same. Meanwhile, other states like
completely phase-out coal-fired power plants.
MAKING CLEAN ENERGY WORK FOR
As this shift happens, however, we must ensure that
the benefits of the clean energy economy are
equitably shared and that the jobs and
opportunities it creates provide family-sustaining
wages, healthcare benefits, and union
representation for workers.
We cannot afford to repeat the mistakes of the past,
and so must take steps early on to ensure these
workers have strong job stability, opportunities for
upward mobility, and secure pathways to the
middle class. This means supporting high road job
strategies like responsible trade policies, project
labor agreements, community benefits agreements,
employer neutrality in union organizing drives,
local hire, union apprenticeship and
pre-apprenticeship programs, and efforts to open
more of those opportunities to communities of
color and low-income people.
Proactive investment in workforce development is
also critical, especially considering that almost
three-quarters of employers across all energy sectors
found it difficult to hire skilled workers, according
to DOE data.
Environmental justice is equally important. One of
the critical benefits put at risk by rejection of the
EPA’s Clean Power Plan is that the plan was built
to ensure investments in frontline communities
across the country. Threatening the CPP leaves
those communities behind.
JUSTICE FOR ALL:
It’s clear that the benefits of America's transition to
clean power must be distributed in a way that treats
working people and local communities fairly, so
that everyone benefits.
In practice, this means working tirelessly to ensure
that the communities and workers historically
dependent on fossil fuels are prioritized and put
first at every stage of our ongoing transition to an
economy powered more fully by clean energy. It
also means affordable and equitable access to the
benefits of clean energy for communities of color
and low-income people, and democratic
accountability of the clean energy industry.
Sierra Club D.C. Office
50 F Street, NW, 8th Floor
Adam Beitman, 202-670-5585
Washington, D.C. 20001