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Virginia advanced energy jobs outnumber grocery, hotel workers

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More Workers in Virginia Advanced Energy than in Grocery Stores, Double Those in Hotels and Motels

With nearly 100,000 workers, advanced energy companies expect to
increase jobs by 5% in 2018

RICHMOND, August 16, 2018 — Today, national business group Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) released a fact sheet showing that Virginia has 97,700 people working in advanced energy across the state. This represents more than those employed by groceries and supermarkets (75,133), and twice as many as those at hotels, motels, and resorts (45,777) across the state. The U.S. has a total of 3.4 million working in advanced energy jobs across the nation.

Key Virginia jobs employment details:

  • Energy efficiency led advanced energy segments with 76,600 jobs.
  • Electricity generation from sources such as solar, nuclear, wind was second with 11,800 jobs.
  • Strong 5% jobs growth in the Commonwealth is expected by companies for 2018.
  • Top 5 counties are: Fairfax (19,900), Loudoun (5,100), Virginia Beach City (4,600), Henrico (4,100) and Prince William (4,100).

“With nearly 100,000 workers, advanced energy is now a significant and growing sector for Virginia’s economy, but we still have a lot of catching up to do when compared with other states, like North Carolina and Ohio,” said Harry Godfrey, Executive Director of Virginia Advanced Energy Economy (Virginia AEE). “With the right policies, we can accelerate this market, create even more jobs, and keep our economy humming, while producing secure, clean, affordable energy for Virginia. The priorities outlined in our policy advocacy are intended to do just that.”

Virginia AEE members have identified five policy priorities that could further accelerate this growth and positive economic impact: 

  • Improving Energy Productivity
  • Expanding Market Access
  • Driving Transportation Electrification
  • Accelerating Renewable Energy Deployment
  • Building a 21st Century Energy System 

“The Grid Transformation and Security Act has the potential to be a real driver of significant investments in wind, solar, and energy efficiency – investments will create a lot more family-sustaining jobs,” said Godfrey, referring to SB 966, passed by Virginia’s General Assembly in March. “Now we have to make sure the utilities actually make these investments in a transparent, competitive, cost-effective way. If they do – when they do - Virginia’s economy and consumers alike will win.” 

SB 966* is expected to result in significant expansion of energy efficiency and advanced energy generation. Specifically, more than 5,000 megawatts of new solar and wind were deemed to be “in the public interest” — lowering the regulatory threshold for approval of new projects. Already, several major solar and wind projects have been announced.

In addition, Virginia’s investor owned utilities, Dominion and Appalachian Power, are required to invest more than $1 billion over 10 years in energy efficiency programs that will save customers money, including $12 million annually for Dominion’s Energy Share program — offering efficiency improvements and bill assistance to low-income Virginians. 

Data & Analysis: The employment figures above were derived from analysis by AEE and BW Research of data from the 2018 U.S. Energy and Employment Report published by the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO) and the Energy Futures Initiative (EFI) earlier this year, as well as data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

*Note: Directly access this bill in AEE’s PowerSuite tool via trial subscription; complimentary access available for credentialed media by contacting mhanis@aee.net.

About AEE and Virginia AEE
In Virginia, Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) operates as Virginia Advanced Energy Economy (Virginia AEE), a group of businesses that are making the energy we use secure, clean, and affordable. Virginia AEE seeks to drive the development of advanced energy to boost the state’s economy and competitiveness by working to remove policy barriers, identify market growth opportunities, encourage market-based policies, establish public and private partnerships, and serve as the voice for companies innovating in the advanced energy sector. Track industry news @AEEnet and @VA_AEE.