Recent News

By Month

See all

Bloomberg News: In Texas, Clean Energy is Courting Oil-Bust Refugees

Posted by Brian Eckhouse and David Wethe, Bloomberg on May 31, 2020

Bloomberg News reported on cleantech companies recruiting former oil and gas workers in Texas, quoting AEE CEO Nat Kreamer. Read excerpts below and the entire May 29 piece published later by the Longview News-Journal here. A number of news outlets including E&E News (sub. req.) also ran the story.

Jeff Bishop's LinkedIn post gets right to the point: "Houston Oil & Gas Folks -- we're hiring in Texas" for jobs in clean tech. His company, battery developer Key Capture Energy, is making the pitch even as tens of thousands of renewable-energy jobs have dried up amid the coronavirus pandemic. That's because Bishop and a handful of other clean-power executives see an opportunity to recruit talent from the oil and gas industries, which have been even harder hit. 

While there are plenty of overlapping skills, it wasn't always easy for clean-power companies to lure top talent from oil and gas. Wind and solar were young and niche industries that tended to attract environmentalists. Now they're big energy, and they appeal to a wider class of workers. Since publishing the post two months ago, Bishop has received about 200 applications...

In some instances, pay is even better in clean power. The median hourly wage for a mid-career wind-industry worker is now $29.79, above the $26.67 for oil, according to the U.S. Energy & Employment Report from the Energy Futures Initiative and the National Association of State Energy Officials.

"Before 2020, I had never heard of any firm specifically hiring from oil and gas into advanced-energy companies," said Nat Kreamer, CEO of the trade-group Advanced Energy Economy and a founder of the solar giant Sunrun Inc. "Now you look at a place like Texas with so much work to be done in renewables and so little work to be done in oil & gas -- it's obvious."

Houston-based Sunnova Energy International Inc. has hired oil and gas workers before, and CEO John Berger expects to hire more. 8minute Solar Energy is looking for oil and gas people with experience in power trading, greenfield development, land acquisition and mineral rights, according to CEO Tom Buttgenbach.

"Ten years ago, the idealistic change-the-world folks were attracted to clean energy," said Bishop, whose company has installed three 10-megawatt storage projects in Texas. "Today, we still get some of the change-the-world folks, but it's an increasing number of team members wanting stable jobs in a growth industry..."

Read the entire Bloomberg News story in the Longview News-Journal piece here

Topics: AEE In The News