Q: What counts as a “clean job” according to this report?
A: Employment in solar energy, wind energy, energy efficiency, combined heat and power, bioenergy, non-woody biomass, low-impact hydro power, geothermal, electric vehicles, hybrid electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid vehicles, hydrogen and fuel-cell vehicles, clean energy storage, smart grid, micro grid, grid modernization, and advanced biofuels. Other energy industries commonly associated with clean energy — such as corn ethanol, woody biomass, traditional hydropower, and nuclear — are not included in these jobs numbers.
Clean energy jobs include those involved in construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade, transmission and distribution, agriculture, and professional services. Jobs in retail trade, repair services, water or waste management, and indirect employment or induced employment are not included.
Many industries often related to the “clean economy” or “green economy” are also not included in this report because they do not deal directly in the energy sector. Those include the outdoor industry, regenerative farming, oil well capping, recycling, and conservation and environmental management.
Q: Can I get the clean job numbers for my state?
A: More detailed reports for 20 U.S. states will be released later this year, but Clean Jobs America includes all main sector job numbers for all 50 states and the District of Columbia. If you have questions regarding a state’s data, you can ask Communications Director Michael Timberlake (email@example.com).
Q: Is there more specific data I can find on clean jobs in my state and region?
A: Yes. E2 plans to release in-depth reports detailing out the clean energy jobs down to the congressional and legislative district levels in about 20 states across the country later this year.
Q: How were the numbers of this report counted?
A: The analysis is based on preliminary employment data collected and analyzed by BW Research Partnership for the 2021 U.S. Energy and Employment Report (USEER, forthcoming). 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 2021 USEER relies on a unique supplemental survey of 35,000 business representatives across the United States. Created and conducted by BW Research and approved by the Office of Management and Budget and U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), this survey is used to identify energy-related employment within key subsectors of the broader industries as classified by the BLS and to assign them into their component energy and energy efficiency sectors.
Q: How has methodology changed from previous reports?
A: The 2021 report methodology is the same methodology from 2020, 2019 and 2018. The only notable recent change was made after 2018 in energy storage to include additional “clean” storage technologies such as thermal storage and mechanical storage. However, those changes were retroactively applied to data going back to 2017 and are reflected in this report’s multi-year data..
Q: Is there anything else I should know about the report’s methodology when understanding the new jobs numbers?
A: Starting in 2018, the methodology used in the USEER did undergo a significant change. In reports before 2018, if a worker spent time working in clean energy but spent most of his or her time in another energy sector – say, oil and gas – their job would still be counted as among the universe of clean energy jobs. Beginning in 2018, because of the USEER methodology and to maximize accuracy, a worker who spends most of his or her time in oil and gas would be counted as a fossil fuel industry job and not counted as a clean energy job at all. In addition, the 2018 USEER methodology significantly improves the scale and scope of its deep dive to capture more manufacturing jobs than previous reports.
Q: Can you give an example?
A: Consider an excavation business that employs 100 workers. Those workers might spend the majority of their time grading and preparing drilling pads for oil or gas rigs, but they also might spend a portion of their time preparing sites for wind turbines or large solar installations. In past E2 state reports, those 100 employees would be included as clean energy workers. Under the new methodology, those 100 jobs would be counted as oil or gas jobs instead.
Q: Why wouldn’t you count those jobs as both oil and gas jobs and clean energy jobs, since clearly those workers are doing both?
A: Because that would be essentially double-counting jobs, and that’s not a valid way to analyze employment. One worker = one job, even if that job supports more than energy sector. E2 would rather be accurate than to double-count jobs, even if workers who support the fossil fuel companies don’t get included for the work they do in the clean energy sector.
Q: Where can I find out more about the methodology?
A: Visit https://www.usenergyjobs.org/ and download the full report for a more detailed explanation.
Q: Are long-term projections for job growth in clean energy available in this report or by E2?
A: Clean Jobs America does include any multi-year projections for the industry’s employment growth. Previous versions have included a one-year projection for growth based on the responses to the 30,000-employer survey. Due to this increased uncertainty across the sector caused by Covid-19 crisis, that was not included in this year’s analysis.
Q: Is demographic data available for clean energy workers?
A: E2 plans on releasing a separate report on diversity in clean energy jobs later this year. That report will be based on analysis of the same dataset as Clean Jobs America 2021.
Q: How are the subsectors detailed in Clean Jobs America 2021 defined:
A: Below are the definitions of all the clean energy subsectors detailed in Clean Jobs America reports (Source: pgs 207-211, 2021 USEER)
- Solar Electric Generation — generating solar power by using mirrors or lenses to concentrate a large area of sunlight, or solar thermal energy, onto a small area.
- Wind Generation — converting the wind’s kinetic energy into electrical power.
- Geothermal Generation — using steam produced from reservoirs of hot water found a few miles or more below the Earth’s surface to produce electricity.
- Bioenergy/Biomass Generation — generating electricity from materials derived from biological sources or any organic material which has stored sunlight in the form of chemical energy.
- Combined Heat and Power — generating electricity and useful thermal energy in a single, integrated system. Heat that is normally wasted in conventional power generation is recovered as useful energy.
- Low-Impact Hydroelectric Generation– similar to traditional, but certification criteria are aimed at ensuring that the certified dam adequately protects or mitigates its impacts in eight key resource areas: river flows, water quality, fish passage and protection, watersheds, threatened and endangered species, cultural resources, and public access and recreation opportunities.
- Pumped Hydro Storage — hydroelectric energy storage used by electric power systems for load balancing. The method stores energy in the form of gravitational potential energy of water, pumped from a lower elevation reservoir to a higher elevation.
- Battery Storage — using a cell or connected group of cells to convert chemical energy into electrical energy by reversible chemical reactions and that may be recharged by passing a current through it in the direction opposite to that of its discharge
- Mechanical Storage — uses kinetic or gravitational forces to store energy. Includes flywheels, compressed air, etc.
- Thermal Storage — temporary storage of energy for later use when heating or cooling is needed.
- Smart Grid — an electricity supply network that uses digital communications technology to detect and react to local changes in usage.
- Micro Grid — a group of interconnected loads and distributed energy resources within clearly defined electrical boundaries that acts as a single controllable entity with respect to the grid.
- Other Grid Modernization — other modernization of the Nation’s electricity transmission and distribution system to maintain a reliable and secure electricity infrastructure that can meet future demand growth.
- ENERGY STAR Appliances – appliances that meet the international ENERGY STAR standard for energy efficient consumer products originated in the United States. Also includes reduced water consumption products and appliances such as high efficiency (HE) washing machines, faucet aerators, low flow shower heads, etc.
- LED, CFL and Other Efficient Lighting – energy efficient lighting sources.
- Traditional HVAC — heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems (HVAC), including building retrocommissioning and retrofits connected to heating and cooling.
- High-Efficiency HVAC — HVAC that meets the international ENERGY STAR standard for energy efficient consumer products originated in the United States or has high Average Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) rating of 90 or greater or 15 SEER or greater.
- Renewable Heating and Cooling — refers to establishments that are involved with heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) from Renewable Energy sources or work that increases the Energy Efficiency of HVAC systems (solar thermal — uses the sun’s energy to generate thermal energy).
- Advanced Building Materials/Insulation — all materials that represent advances in efficiency over the traditional materials.
- Other Energy Efficiency – includes variable speed pumps, other design services not specific to a detailed technology, software not specific to a detailed technology, energy auditing, rating, monitoring, metering, and leak detection, policy and non-profit work not specific to a detailed technology, consulting not specific to a detailed technology, LEED certification, phase-change materials, etc.
- Other Biofuels — other fuel derived directly from living matter.
- Other Ethanol/Non-Woody Biomass Fuel, including Biodiesel — fuel made from other materials such as straw, manure, vegetable oil, animal fats, etc.
- Hybrid Electric Vehicles — use two or more distinct types of power, such as internal combustion engine + electric motor.
- Plug-In Hybrid Vehicles — a hybrid electric vehicle that uses two or more distinct types of power, such as internal combustion engine and an electric motor that is powered by rechargeable batteries, or another energy storage device, that can be recharged by plugging it in to an external source of electric power.
- Electric Vehicles — a vehicle which uses one or more electric motors for propulsion with no onboard generator or non-electric motor.
- Natural Gas Vehicles — an alternative fuel vehicle that uses compressed natural gas (CNG) or liquefied natural gas (LNG) as a cleaner alternative to other fossil fuels.
- Hydrogen Vehicles — uses hydrogen as its onboard fuel for motive power.
- Fuel Cell Vehicles — a type of hybrid vehicle which uses a fuel cell, instead of an engine, in combination with a storage device, such as a battery, to power its on-board electric motor