A new study presented by Environmental Entrepreneurs and the Keystone Energy Efficiency Alliance has found that in 2015 the clean energy sector in Pennsylvania—which includes energy efficiency, renewable energy, alternative transportation, and greenhouse gas management and accounting—employed more than 66,000 workers at 5,900 businesses.
Clean Jobs Pennsylvania is based on U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics information and data from the U.S. Department of Energy, as well as a survey completed by 400 businesses across Pennsylvania. The report contains useful breakdowns of clean energy jobs by county and legislative district.
The study’s top-line job figure represents a 15 percent increase over the number of clean energy jobs in the state in 2014. Eighty percent of those jobs—more than 53,000—are in energy efficiency, and about 8,800 are in renewable energy, according to the report.
Clean energy jobs, then, represent about one percent of all the jobs in the Commonwealth—and more than in the coal, oil, and natural gas sectors combined. The sector is growing rapidly, but the Keystone State lags behind the rest of the nation in growing the clean energy economy. See my testimony before the Pennsylvania House Democratic Policy Committee on April 11, 2016, where I discussed the potential to grow clean energy jobs and the urgent need to do so.
Clean Jobs Pennsylvania identified three keys to furthering clean energy job growth:
· update Act 129, Pennsylvania’s energy efficiency statute (enacted in 2008);
· update the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard (enacted in 2004 and last amended in 2007); and
· Implement the Clean Power Plan in a way that maximizes the use of energy efficiency and clean, renewable energy.
These are commonsense recommendations to improving the strength, diversity, and resiliency of Pennsylvania’s economy, and improving public health and the environment, that currently face uphill climbs in Harrisburg.