American wind jobs crack 100,000
According to new data released by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), wind power employs just over 100,000 Americans, more than work at nuclear, natural gas, coal, or hydroelectric power plants.
“Wind means opportunity and job security for over 100,000 Americans,” said Tom Kiernan, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association. “The Department of Energy’s new jobs data underscore the incredible impact of wind power in creating American jobs. Wind workers directly contribute to our nation’s energy independence and economic success story. We’re especially proud of helping America’s veterans find well-paying jobs after their service, employing them at a rate that is 50 percent higher than the national average.”
Proportionally, solar employment accounts for the largest share of workers in the Electric Power Generation sector. This is largely due to the construction related to the significant buildout of new solar generation capacity. Solar technologies, both photovoltaic and concentrating, employ almost 374,000 workers, or 43 percent of the Electric Power Generation workforce. This is followed by fossil fuel generation employment, which accounts for 22 percent of total Electric Power Generation employment and supports 187,117 workers across coal, oil, and natural gas generation technologies.
Wind generation provides the third largest share of Electric Power Generation employment. Firms that support the nation’s wind technology sector employ a total of 101,738 workers—a 32 percent increase since 2015. Over the next 12 months, wind employers reported projected growth of just under four percent. Similar to the solar sector, the largest share of employment is in construction; this industry accounts for 37 percent of all wind sector workers, followed by manufacturing at 29 percent and wholesale trade at 14 percent.
These wind jobs can be found across the nation. According to DOE, Texas is home to nearly 25 percent of American wind workers. Substantially more growth is possible. According to DOE’s earlier Wind Vision report, 380,000 American wind jobs could be created by 2030.
DOE’s new data validates the jobs growth reported in AWEA’s own annual report. At the end of 2015, AWEA estimated 88,000 Americans were employed in the U.S. wind industry, a 20 percent increase from 2014 levels. Given near-record amounts of wind power under construction and recent wind manufacturing facility expansions in states like Colorado, Florida, Texas, and Wisconsin, AWEA expects wind industry employment grew significantly in 2016. AWEA’s detailed jobs analysis, including state-by-state breakdowns, will be released this spring as part of the U.S. Wind Industry’s Annual Market Report 2016.
Source: Awea & U.S. Energy and Jobs Report