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Vox: As Trump and McConnell Mock Clean Energy, the Industry Could Soon Lose a Half-Million Jobs

Posted by David Roberts | Vox on Apr 16, 2020

Vox covered clean energy jobs loss impacts due to the COVID-19 crisis and possible policy supports in future federal stimulus packages, featuring AEE's COVID-19 fact sheet. Read excerpts below and the entire Vox piece here. 

The clean-energy industry is one of the America’s fastest growing employers, and one of the industries with the greatest long-term potential, given a global market that is fated to grow throughout the coming century. But it is being dealt a body blow by the Covid-19 crisis, and it is beginning to look like it’s not going to get any help from the federal government, at least not until next year (and then only if Democrats win big). Fossil fuels, on the other hand, are getting everything they ask for.

Doubling down on a polluting industry in decline, while allowing a burgeoning domestic industry to wither, is incredibly short-sighted and self-defeating. But it’s happening. And it illustrates yet again the asymmetry between America’s political parties, in terms of who they fight for and how hard they fight, what they consider fundamental and what secondary. Republicans have declared that helping clean energy industries is a silly luxury during a pandemic, while helping fossil fuels is a hard-nosed necessity. And Democrats are letting them get away with it...

In 2018, the wind industry supported more than 114,000 jobs across the US; the solar industry employed 250,000. As of 2019, wind technician and solar installer were the two fastest growing jobs in the US. The energy efficiency sector employs 2.4 million Americans. According to Advanced Energy Economy (AEE), advanced energy overall supports 3.5 million jobs in the US, “more U.S. workers than retail stores (3 million), twice as many as hotels and motels (1.7 million), and more than three times as many as the coal and oil industries combined (1 million).”

Clean energy has been one of the great success stories of the US economy over the last decade or so — mainly sparked by the Obama stimulus bill. But the industry relies heavily on in-person projects and installations, and the Covid-19 virus and subsequent lockdown have dealt it a body blow. The latest numbers reveal that in March alone, the clean energy sector shed 106,000 jobs — a year’s worth of job gains, gone in a matter of weeks...

Read the entire Vox piece here. 

Topics: AEE In The News