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MiBiz: COVID-19 wipes out clean energy job gains as regulators explore effect on utilities

Posted by Andy Balaskovitz || MiBiz on Apr 26, 2020

MiBiz covered COVID-19's effect on Michigan's clean energy jobs and companies attempt noting AEE's policy recommendation. Read excerpts below and the entire MiBiz piece here. 

The coronavirus has wiped out recent statewide clean energy job gains as Michigan companies take a patchwork approach to continuing work during the pandemic. According to a study released by business and environmental groups this month, the U.S. lost 106,000 clean energy jobs since the outbreak started in March, including 5,446 in Michigan, or 4.1 percent of the state’s clean energy job sector. The report estimates national clean energy job losses could top 500,000, or 15 percent, as new unemployment data become available for the month of April. 

The report — released by Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2), the American Council on Renewable Energy, E4TheFuture and BW Research Partnership — analyzed U.S. Department of Labor data for March. In Michigan, the pandemic has created a patchwork with ongoing projects. West Michigan’s major electricity provider, Jackson-based Consumers Energy, has planned to continue all construction projects. Some solar installers have halted work at the request of project owners. In-person audits and inspections for energy efficiency and clean energy projects have come to a halt. The jobs report covers renewable energy, energy efficiency, clean vehicles and battery storage...

Meanwhile, clean energy advocates have made their case for stimulus funding, or at least reworking federal tax credits, to keep the project pipeline moving. They cite the construction job potential and the ability to reduce costs for ratepayers as key reasons the industry should see stimulus funds. National business group Advanced Energy Economy and others have specifically called for direct payments in lieu of federal production and investment tax credits for wind and solar projects. With an uncertain timeline for the economic coronavirus-related slowdown, advocates say clean energy workers can fill spaces while maintaining social distancing, for example by retrofitting empty schools with energy efficiency and renewable energy projects...

Read the entire MiBiz piece here. 

Topics: AEE In The News