More than 104,000 Illinois residents now work in the clean energy sector, according to a new report released today called “Clean Jobs Illinois.”
The report found employment in the Illinois clean energy economy grew by 7.8 percent the past 15 months alone, with more than 7,500 new clean energy jobs added statewide.
The complete report plus an interactive website can be found at www.CleanJobsIL.com. The report was commissioned and distributed by six organizations including the national nonpartisan business group Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2). Other partners include Clean Energy Trust, Environmental Law & Policy Center, Energy Foundation, The Joyce Foundation and the Natural Resources Defense Council.
“From Rockford to Carbondale and every place in between, this report shows clean energy works for Illinois,” said Chicago-based Will Kenworthy, a VP at Microgrid Solar and an E2 Midwest Chapter director. “We need strong renewable and energy efficiency policies in the state to send a strong, clear market signal that drives economic growth and lowers energy costs for consumers.”
Among the report’s findings:
- Energy efficiency makes up the largest proportion – 66 percent – of clean energy workers in Illinois, with building efficiency and heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) accounting for the bulk of those jobs. The report also notes that the state’s Energy Efficiency Resource Standard has helped trigger smart investments in energy efficiency.
- 10.5 percent of recent hires at Illinois clean energy businesses are veterans. As E2 documents on its websitewww.cleanenergyworksforus.org/
military, the military’s leadership on clean energy has meant more veterans enter the workforce trained in cutting-edge clean energy technologies.
- Renewable energy companies pointed to the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard as the policy with the greatest impact on growing the renewable energy sector. However, as the report notes, the Illinois RPS must be modernized to more effectively ensure continued growth of clean energy jobs.
This week the state legislature is debating several measures affecting the clean energy economy in Illinois, including the E2-backed Clean Jobs Bill. This bill leverages the growing clean energy industry in Illinois to potentially create tens of thousands of jobs for Illinois workers. The Clean Jobs Bill will also encourage in-state investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency. More information on the economic benefits of this bill can be found at www.ilcleanjobs.org.
“Illinois business leaders are already planning for a clean energy future,” said E2 Midwest Advocate Gail Parson. “By modernizing our state’s renewables standard – and by implementing the federal Clean Power Plan with an emphasis on renewable energy and energy efficiency – we ensure that transition happens in a way that creates as many Illinois jobs as possible.”
Announced last year, the federal Clean Power Plan is scheduled to implement the first-ever carbon pollution limits on power plants. In Illinois, the state is required to cut its power-sector carbon emissions rate about 33 percent between 2012 and 2030.
ST Staff Writers
This post was prepared by Solar Thermal Magazine staff.