Clean energy, a job-creation engine already generating impressive performance, will rev up to even higher levels in coming years. A comprehensive new fact sheet (PDF) from the Environmental and Energy Study Institute strongly documents these trends with capsule summaries of dozens of recent studies on the topic.

In the last several years, numerous studies have validated the emergence of renewable energy and energy efficiency as a major new economic and employment driver. EESI — a Washington, D.C.-based think tank that educates Capitol Hill on energy issues and the general public on energy legislation — has created this invaluable fact sheet to survey many of the major national, state, and industry studies. Here are a few samples:

  • Energy efficiency now employs 8 million, and renewable energy 450,000, in the U.S.
  • Renewable energy creates more jobs per megawatt of power installed, unit of energy produced, and dollar invested than fossil energy.
  • Generating 20 percent of U.S. electricity from new renewable energy by 2020 will add 185,000 new jobs, while cumulatively reducing utility bills $10.5 billion and increasing rural landowner income by $26.5 billion.
  • A national light vehicle efficiency standard of 35 mpg by 2018 will create 241,000 jobs, including 23,900 in the automotive sector, while saving consumers $37 billion in 2020 alone.
  • The Massachusetts clean energy sector employs 14,000 and will soon be the state’s 10th largest economic sector.
  • Washington state’s 15 percent renewable energy standard will result in a net increase of 1,230 jobs in-state.
  • California’s Million Solar Roof Initiative will generate 15,000 jobs there.
  • Germany employs 214,000 in renewable energy, including 64,000 in wind.
  • Denmark’s wind industry employs 20,000 and Spain’s 35,000.
  • U.S. wind power was responsible for 16,000 direct jobs and 36,800 total jobs in 2006.

Clean energy is a dynamic economic sector rich in new jobs, and these studies prove it. They also indicate that the sector is growing most strongly where public policies build a market framework that encourages adoption of new technologies. Leading states and nations are demonstrating how public policy leadership and private sector innovation can effectively partner to meet the need for cleaner energy while generating powerful economic benefits. EESI’s new fact sheet provides a quick and useful summary of the literature.

This post was created for Climate Solutions Journal.

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