The clean energy economy is emerging as a vital component of America’s new economic landscape. But while this sector is still in its infancy, it isn’t uncharted territory.
The Clean Energy Economy: Repowering Jobs, Businesses and Investments Across America, a report from The Pew Charitable Trusts, finds that the clean energy economy has been driving jobs, businesses and investments across the 50 states and District of Columbia for a decade, nourishing industries around products ranging from solar panels and engines for hybrid cars to energy-efficient buildings. Between 1998 and 2007, jobs in the clean energy economy grew by 9.1 percent, outperforming total jobs, which grew by only 3.7 percent.
These jobs, businesses and investments aren’t just in traditionally environmentally friendly states like California. Every state has a share of the clean energy economy. In fact, in 38 states and the District of Columbia, job growth in the clean energy economy surpassed total job growth between 1998 and 2007. Texas, for instance, had over 55,000 jobs in its clean energy economy in 2007, and they spanned five different sectors: clean energy generation, energy efficiency, environmentally friendly production, conservation and pollution mitigation, and training and support. Ohio ranks among the top five states with the most jobs in clean energy, energy efficiency and environmentally friendly production in 2007. Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi and South Dakota are among more than a dozen states where the number of jobs in the clean energy economy in 2007 was modest, but the average annual growth rate of those jobs was among the highest in the country.
A growing number of states are implementing policies to expand their share of the clean energy economy—from renewable portfolio and energy efficiency standards to financial incentives for public- and private-sector innovation and investment. All of these measures create market demand for the development of clean, renewable energy sources and energy-efficient products and services.
At the federal level, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 provides almost $85 billion to bolster those efforts. Given America’s need to create enduring jobs and industries while conserving natural resources and reducing carbon emissions, federal leaders are deliberating additional measures to spur the nation’s clean energy economy.
To learn more about how your state is faring in the clean energy economy, you can Track This Trend by using Trends to Watch, an online data comparison tool featured on the Pew Center on the States' Web site.