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Sustainable Pittsburgh

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Straight Talk: Eye-popping Numbers – Clean Jobs

Yesterday’s release of the new Clean Jobs Pennsylvania 2017 report provides timely insight to the fast rise of employment in the clean energy sector.  This refers principally to the industries of renewable energy (wind, solar, hydropower), energy efficiency, clean vehicles, and smart grid jobs (which make our electricity system more flexible and renewables-friendly).  The types of jobs include construction, manufacturing, professional services among engineers, software developers, marketing pros, electricians, and construction workers. 
Key finding: There are nearly 70,000 clean energy jobs in Pennsylvania and growing fast!  Mind blowing to learn that the country’s fastestgrowing occupation is wind turbine technician.  These positions have an average salary of around $52,000 per year and is expected to grow 108% by 2024.  Growth is a big part of this news.  Consider that renewable energy only comprised 5 percent of Pennsylvania’s mix compared to the national average of 15 percent, but all the while clean energy jobs here grew by an astonishing 15 percent over the past two years.  Massachusetts with half our population already has twice the clean energy jobs found in Pennsylvania due to that state’s economically focused clean energy policies.  

Given the massive potential for more energy efficiency and renewable energy generation, our state and region can become a powerhouse in clean energy employment and generation.  Allegheny County is already the top-ranked in the state in overall clean energy jobs.  For these reasons, leaders are coming together right now to develop a regional energy efficiency and renewables plan to seize the moment and further the trends of sustainable development for our region.  The policy recommendations found in Clean Jobs PA 2017 are part of the recipe for fueling the innovation and promising new opportunities for workers.   
For those interested in the national perspective on growth of all energy jobs, see the 2017 U.S. Energy and Employment Report that has rich state-level data.