Job growth outpaces national (1.5%) and statewide rates (2.4%)
- Clean energy employs 26K more workers than fossil fuels in CO
- Jackson, Denver, Boulder, Broomfield, Alamosa counties lead state in clean jobs per capita.
- Growth rate led by clean vehicles (22.5%) and energy efficiency (7.2%)
GRAND JUNCTION (September 12, 2019) – Nearly 60,000 Coloradans now work in clean energy after industries added 2,700 jobs in 2018 for a nearly five percent growth rate, far outpacing statewide (2.4%) and national (1.5%) job growth, according to a new analysis of energy employment data by the national nonpartisan business group E2 (Environmental Entrepreneurs) and the Colorado Solar and Storage Association (COSSA). The state’s strong growth was mainly driven by employment increases in energy efficiency (7.2%) and clean vehicle technologies (22.5%).
According to Clean Jobs Colorado 2019, Colorado’s clean energy jobs reached 59,666 at the end of 2018, placing it among the top 10 states for jobs in wind energy (3rd), bioenergy (9th), overall renewable energy (6th), and just outside the top 10 in solar energy (11th).
“Clean energy continues to be a vital resource in Colorado’s growing economy,” said Susan Nedell, E2 Mountain West Advocate. “Thankfully our state’s leaders are beginning to notice the opportunity at play here and across the region. The findings in our report back-up the economic benefits of recent smart policy steps, such as adopting the Zero-Emission Vehicle standard after Colorado experienced one of the nation’s highest jumps in clean vehicle jobs in 2018.”
The report – which counts employment in solar energy, wind energy, energy efficiency, combined heat and power, bioenergy, non-woody biomass, low-impact hydro power, geothermal, clean vehicle technologies, clean energy storage, smart grid, micro grid, grid modernization, and advanced biofuels— found Colorado’s clean energy businesses now employ 26,000 more workers than the state’s entire fossil fuel industry (33,377). Other industries commonly associated with clean energy— such as corn ethanol, woody biomass, large hydropower, and nuclear— are not included in these numbers.
“These jobs numbers support what the Colorado cleantech business community already knows” said Ken Scissors, director of Grand Junction-based Cleantech Business Coalition. “Clean technology is a powerful and growing economic driver, and with ongoing policymaker and industry collaboration will further enhance our prosperity and sustainability”.
Energy efficiency remains the largest clean energy sector in Colorado with more than 34,000 workers – up from 32,000 in 2017. Renewable energy—led by wind (7,700 jobs) and solar (7,300)—accounted for the second-most clean energy jobs (17,000) while clean vehicles sector added more than 600 jobs (3,300 total) for a 22.5% growth rate. In total, clean energy now accounts for nearly 40 percent of Colorado’s entire energy sector workforce (158,300 jobs).
“Colorado has been supporting clean energy for over a decade, but the industry has really take-off over the last several years,” said Mike Kruger, president and chief executive of the Colorado Solar and Storage Energy Association. “Few states can match the natural advantages Colorado has when it comes to renewable energy, meaning our industry will continue creating jobs for Coloradans that cannot be outsourced while shifting the entire region towards a clean energy future with our increased production.”
Analyzing the state geographically, Clean Jobs Colorado 2019 found that while Denver and Boulder accounted for nearly one out of every three clean jobs in the state, about 20 percent (29,000) are in areas outside the Denver, Boulder, Colorado Springs, and Fort Collins metro areas. Additionally, all 64 counties in the state are home to clean energy workers, with 11 counties supporting at least 1,100. Denver led all counties with more than 13,200 jobs, followed by Arapahoe (7,600) and Jefferson (5,800) counties. By density, Jackson, Denver, and Boulder counties led the state in clean jobs per 1,000 employable residents.
Other highlights from Clean Jobs Colorado 2019:
- 64% of clean energy workers are employed by businesses with fewer than 20 total employees
- Colorado clean energy employers are projecting 10.3% employment growth for 2019.
- Construction (37.6%) and professional services (40.7%) make up the majority of clean energy jobs.
- 2,884 Colorado now work in grid modernization (12,272) and energy storage (1,613)
- 9.6% of Coloradans employed in clean energy are veterans
- 22 counties employ at least 1,000 clean energy workers
The report follows E2’s Clean Jobs America analysis which found the clean energy jobs account for nearly 3.3 million jobs across all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Both reports are based on data from the 2019 U.S. Energy and Employment Report (USEER) produced by the Energy Futures Initiative (EFI) in partnership with the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO). E2 is a partner on the USEER, the fourth installment of the energy survey first released by the Department of Energy in 2016 and subsequently abandoned under the Trump administration.
For more information or for interview requests, please contact Michael Timberlake (email@example.com; 202-289-2407). More information about E2’s clean energy jobs research can be found at www.e2.org/reports.
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Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) is a national, nonpartisan group of business leaders, investors, and professionals from every sector of the economy who advocate for smart policies that are good for the economy and good for the environment. Our members have founded or funded more than 2,500 companies, created more than 600,000 jobs, and manage more than $100 billion in venture and private equity capital. For more information, see www.e2.org or follow us on Twitter at @e2org.
Established in 1989, the Colorado Solar and Storage Association (COSSA) is the award-winning nonprofit association leading Colorado’s solar and storage industries. Our mission is to expand solar and storage markets and to generate jobs and prosperity for the people of Colorado. Together with hundreds of solar and storage business members we work to advance clean energy policies, remove market barriers, highlight emerging trends, and increase solar and storage education.