The Clean Jobs Pennsylvania 2017 report is part of E2’s and KEEA’s ongoing effort to better understand the employment impacts of energy efficiency and renewable energy in the state and identify which policies would support additional job creation.
Our analysis of the size and scope of Pennsylvania’s clean energy economy shows nearly 70,000 Pennsylvanians work in the state’s clean energy sector. That’s a nearly 6 percent increase over the previous year—and it’s twice as many jobs as exist in the state’s fossil fuel industry.
In fact, clean energy is creating new job opportunities for former coal and gas workers across the Commonwealth. New wind farms are being considered for development near former coal mines in the Scranton area, for instance, and jobs in energy efficiency and other clean energy fields are creating new, promising opportunities for workers across the state.ii
Clean energy jobs in Pennsylvania can be categorized either by industry—energy efficiency, renewables, clean vehicles, etc.—or by value chain—i.e., the type of work done within a particular industry to bring a product or service to market.
In terms of industry, most Pennsylvania clean energy workers—about 55,000—work in energy efficiency, a category that encompasses a broad range of jobs including construction workers, electricians, engineers, software developers and marketing professionals.
More than 10,000 Pennsylvanians work in fast-growing renewable energy industries like solar, wind and hydropower, even though renewable energy is in its infancy in the Commonwealth. (Less than 5 percent of the state’s electricity is generated from renewable sources, versus more than 15 percent nationwide.)
Another 3,500 Pennsylvanians work in smart grid jobs (which make our electricity system more flexible and renewables-friendly), fuels jobs, and jobs in clean vehicle technologies that help our cars and trucks go further for less money.
As to the clean energy sector’s value chain, nearly half of the state’s clean energy workforce is involved in the construction industry, while about one in five clean energy workers are in manufacturing. Others are involved in professional services, utilities, the trades and other industries.
The clean energy job growth that Pennsylvania has seen across both traditional and newer industries is part of a broader national shift, as businesses, utilities, power companies and everyday Americans increasingly recognize the economic, health and climate benefits of energy efficiency and renewable energy. Across the United States, more than 3 million people now work in clean energy and clean transportation.