Midwest clean energy economy poised for explosive growth as Inflation Reduction Act investments kick in 

Chicago, IL – Clean energy businesses in the Midwest added more than 25,000 workers in 2022, now employing 734,753 Midwesterners. That’s according to a new analysis of employment data released today by the national, nonpartisan business group E2 (Environmental Entrepreneurs) and Evergreen Climate Innovations. The report comes after the one year anniversary of the largest investment in climate and clean energy in history, which is already boosting clean energy jobs and businesses across the state and region. 

The energy efficiency sector continued to lead clean energy in total jobs in 2022 in Midwest with more than 487,200 workers. The fastest growing sector in 2022 in the Midwest was clean transportation with 11.2 percent growth, adding over 12,096 new jobs for a total of 119,786 workers.  

Micaela Preskill, Midwest Advocate for E2 said: 

“The Midwest saw impressive clean energy job growth in 2022, but it is essentially the calm before the storm in terms of expected job growth for the sector and region. Private companies have gone full speed ahead with new investments in clean energy and transportation projects since historic clean energy investments and incentives were passed last summer. Growth of 3.6 percent in the Midwest is fantastic, but I’m on the edge of my seat to see what these numbers look like next year.” 

According to the analysis, clean energy and clean transportation companies employed more than 734,000 Midwesterners at the end of 2022, growing by more than 25,000 jobs, a nearly 4 percent increase from 2021. Nationally, clean energy employment grew 4 percent to reach 3.3 million jobs, setting record employment highs two years after the pandemic-fueled unemployment crisis cost the industry more than 620,000 jobs.  

Ian Adams, Managing Director at Evergreen Climate Innovations, stated: 

“The Clean Jobs Midwest report along with our own portfolio underscore the growth of both large and small clean energy firms. They’re expanding facilities, hiring, and introducing new technologies in the region. Evergreen startup, NanoGraf, an innovative battery materials firm, recently opened a new Chicago facility. Additionally, CorePower Magnetics and Marel Power Solutions, both in the vehicle electrification sector, have secured funding and significant federal grants this past year. This momentum hints at even more promising developments in the future, reinforcing our region’s reputation as a hub for sustainable innovation.” 

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 already being invested nationwide, the Midwest has an enormous opportunity to create tens of thousands more jobs in the coming years.  

 To see the full potential of job creation and emission reduction benefits from federal clean energy investments, state and federal coordination is needed. Policies that remove barriers for clean energy development like the creation of workforce training programs and expansion of transmission infrastructure will also be critical.  

Scott Alan Davis, Vice President of Inclusion and Economic Development at SEEL, LLC said:  

“At SEEL, LLC we’ve been creating jobs since we were founded in 2009 and over that time, we’ve trained hundreds of blue-collar auto workers and placed them in good jobs in the green economy. Considering the demand we’ve seen for energy efficiency, it is no surprise the sector employs tens of thousands of workers in Michigan alone. These are good paying, quality jobs that can be filled by a diverse workforce with people from all walks of life. With state policy, Michigan has the opportunity to build off the incentives of the Inflation Reduction Act and create a jobs boom.”  

Utopia Hill, CEO of Reactivate, an Illinois renewable energy company supporting renewable energy development in local communities, said: 

“Our Gooseberry Solar in Ford Heights is a great example where CEJA is helping create well-paying union jobs with family sustaining wages and benefits for a diverse workforce, building economic growth in underserved communities by contracting with local, minority- and women-owned businesses, and providing direct savings from community solar to low-to-moderate income households to lessen the burden of high energy costs and keep more money in their pockets.” 

U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) said: 

“Supporting green manufacturing and green energy benefits us all in so many ways: we’re creating jobs, saving money and developing a more sustainable, safer and healthier world not just for ourselves but for our kids and generations to come. This report confirms something I’ve been working hard to support in Washington –the expansion of clean energy and the programs that support it are at the heart of job growth in Illinois and throughout the Midwest. Thanks to the leadership from the Biden Administration in pushing for laws like the Inflation Reduction Act and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we’ve created significant support to help move our country forward and today’s report makes clear these policies are working.”  

Other Findings: 

  • There was 3.6 percent growth in clean energy jobs in 2022 in the Midwest. 
  • The Midwest is now home to 734,753 clean energy jobs. 
  • There was 11.2 percent growth of jobs in the clean transportation sector in the Midwest, the region’s fastest-growing sector in 2022. 
  •  Small businesses account for 3.6 percent of the Midwest’s clean energy sector – in 2022, 70.5 percent of the 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. 

 Methodology: 

This is the eighth annual Clean Jobs Midwest report produced by E2 and Evergreen Climate Innovations 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 2023 USEER relies on a unique supplemental survey of approximately 34,200 business representatives across the United States.  

For more details on methodology see https://www.cleanjobsmidwest.com/survey-methodology.   

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, 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 $42 for every $1 invested. For more information, see https://evergreeninno.org/. 

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