Midwest’s clean energy economy positioned for even greater growth with Inflation Reduction Act investments

Chicago, IL – Clean energy businesses in the Midwest added more than 36,400 workers in 2021, now employing 714,323 Midwesterners across the region. That’s according to a new analysis of employment data released today by the national, nonpartisan business group E2 (Environmental Entrepreneurs) and nonprofit Evergreen Climate Innovations. The report comes after Congress and the Biden administration passed the largest investment in climate and clean energy in history which is set to boost clean energy jobs and businesses across the region.

After a mild downturn across all energy jobs in 2020, Midwest clean energy jobs grew 5 percent in 2021, almost 40 percent faster than the overall economy. According to Clean Jobs Midwest 2022, growth in 2021 was driven by advanced transportation, which added more than 21,930 jobs and now employs 112,591 workers across the region. Nationwide, clean energy employment grew 5 percent to reach 3.2 million jobs.

Despite the recent growth, clean energy jobs still have significant room to grow in the Midwest. With billions in funds from the Inflation Reduction Act preparing to be invested nationwide, the state has an enormous opportunity to create tens of thousands more jobs in the coming years. To see the full potential of job and emission reduction benefits from the Inflation Reduction Act, state and federal coordination is needed. Policies that remove barriers for clean energy development like the development of workforce training programs and expansion of transmission infrastructure will also be critical.

According to the analysis, the energy efficiency sector continued to lead clean energy in total jobs in 2021 with 479,626 workers followed by advanced transportation (112,591 jobs) and renewable energy (88,898 jobs). Meanwhile, advanced transportation saw the fastest job growth across clean energy (24 percent), followed by clean fuels (5 percent).

Micaela Preskill, Midwest Advocate for E2 said:

“With the IRA investing billions into the clean energy sector in the coming years, these jobs are set to grow at an unprecedented rate. The Midwest stands to benefit as the industry builds off its strong foundation with clean energy workers calling home in every corner of the Midwest. With policies that support strong wages, equity, and workforce training a transformation to a cleaner economy that boosts the region’s entire economy is within reach.”

Ian Adams, Managing Director at Evergreen Climate Innovations said:

“The clean energy workforce is a large and growing part of the Midwest region’s economy. This seventh edition of the Clean Jobs Midwest report demonstrates how innovative businesses across renewable energy, electric vehicles, and beyond are continuing to deploy new technologies and create new jobs in the process. Looking forward, we are excited for the potential for this industry to grow even more robustly following the passage of impactful federal legislation including the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the Inflation Reduction Act.”

Tom Gallagher, VP Operations at Ultium Cells in Warren, OH and Lansing, MI said:

“At Ultium Cells, we are excited to play a role in the clean energy transition by manufacturing battery cells to power an electric transportation future, creating more than 5,000 new high-tech jobs in the U.S., including more than 3,000 across Ohio and Michigan. We, along with countless other policymakers, business leaders, community partners, entrepreneurs, and workers in the clean energy space are proving that smart climate policies can drive innovation and create jobs, and do so in a way that helps our planet.”

Nate Baguio, Senior Vice President of Commercial Development at Lion Electric in Joliet, IL said:

“We celebrate as the demand for electric vehicle sector jobs grows in the United States, which is noted in the recently released 2022 Clean Jobs Midwest Report from E2 and Evergreen Climate Innovations. Lion is committed to investing in bringing clean manufacturing jobs to the region, and we will do this with the upcoming opening of our new, 900,000 square-feet facility in Joliet, Illinois.”

Other Findings:

  • Clean energy occupations accounted for 23 percent of all construction jobs and 4 percent of all manufacturing jobs in the Midwest.
  • Small businesses drive Midwest’s clean energy sector – in 2021, 69 percent of Midwest’s clean energy businesses employed fewer than 20 people.
  • 11 percent of Midwesterners employed in clean energy are veterans.

For a full breakdown of clean energy jobs for every state in the Midwest, see www.cleanjobsmidwest.com – including profiles of workers in each sector.

Methodology:

This is the seventh annual Clean Jobs Midwest report produced by E2 and Evergreen Climate Innovations (formerly Clean Energy Trust) based on analysis of the U.S. Department of Energy’s annual US Energy Employment & Jobs Report (USEER) by the BW Research Partnership. The USEER analyzes data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) to track employment across many energy production, transmission and distribution subsectors. In addition, the 2022 USEER relies on a unique supplemental survey of 33,000 business representatives across the United States

For more details on methodology see www.e2.org/reports/clean-jobs-america-2022.

Previous E2 and CET Jobs Reports:

Additional Information: 

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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.

Evergreen Climate Innovations, formerly Clean Energy Trust, provides catalytic capital and support to entrepreneurs and startups that bring impactful climate technologies to market. The nonprofit pioneered its 501vc® Investment Fund to align philanthropic and corporate contributions to deliver environmental, economic, and social impact. Evergreen advances and expands access to innovation across the Greater Midwest and cultivates an ecosystem of investors, donors, and collaborators. For over a decade, Evergreen Climate Innovations has invested in startups that have raised $37 for every $1 invested. Learn more at evergreeninno.org.

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