Northeast Clean Energy Economy Continues to Grow

With the release of the 2016 Massachusetts Clean Energy Industry Report by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC), it is clear that the Northeast clean energy economy is continuing to grow. The report revealed that the Commonwealth added 6,317 clean energy jobs over the past year, a six percent growth rate from 2015. Clean energy now employs 105,212 jobs across the state, surpassing 100,000 for the first time. This total represents a 75 percent growth rate since 2010, a staggering increase in only six short years.

MassCEC CEO Stephen Pike, at the report reveal held yesterday at Bunker Hill Community College, referred to clean energy as a “dynamic industry.” With a crowd of students in attendance, Pike spoke on the “slew of opportunities” the industry provides, encouraging them to pursue clean energy jobs. 

An $11.8 billion industry, clean energy now represents 2.5 percent of the Commonwealth’s Gross State Product and 2.9 percent of the overall workforce. In a statement released by MassCEC, Governor Charlie Baker noted that Massachusetts’ “highly educated and well-trained workforce makes it an attractive place for innovative industries, including clean energy companies.” Clean energy industry reports released by other Northeast states this year indicate a similar sentiment, demonstrating that the region is thriving as a world-class clean energy hub.

Rhode Island in particular saw tremendous growth over the past year. The 2016 Rhode Island Clean Energy Jobs Report revealed that the Ocean State added 2,900 clean energy jobs, a 40 percent growth rate that trounced all expectations. This impressive increase is largely due to the expansion of solar across the state, as well as the Block Island Wind Farm. In fact, renewable energy jobs nearly doubled 2015 numbers, growing at an 84 percent rate. Clean energy now employs 13,776 jobs total, representing three percent of the overall workforce.

Vermont also saw promising growth in the clean energy industry over 2016. The 2016 Vermont Clean Energy Industry Report revealed that the Green Mountain Stated added 1,400 clean energy jobs, for a total of 17,700. This increase represents a 20% growth rate since 2013 despite uncertainties in policy and challenges to the broader energy market. Clean energy now employs six percent of the total Vermont workforce, or 1 in 17 Vermonters, the highest per capita rate in the country. 

Across all segments of the industry, the Northeast clean energy economy thrived in 2016. One particular segment of note, however, is energy efficiency. Earlier this month, E2 and E4TheFuture released Energy Efficiency Jobs in America, revealing that energy efficiency employs 1.9 million jobs across the country. With 82,848 of those in Massachusetts and 69,704 in New York, the Northeast is well represented in the top ten states for energy efficiency jobs. In Rhode Island, six in ten clean energy workers are employed by energy efficiency, with 2,900 new jobs added over 2016. Similarly, energy efficiency remains the largest clean energy segment in Vermont.

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Sean Davenport

Sean is NECEC's Communications Manager.