Renewable Energy and Battery Jobs Fared Better Than Energy Sector Overall in 2020

Renewable Energy
A view of wind turbines from Highway 58 in Mojave, California.

Employment in renewable energy and battery-related sectors was far more resilient to the shock of the novel coronavirus pandemic, according to an annual DOE report released Monday.

Overall, one in 10 U.S. energy workers lost their jobs in 2020, with oil and gas workers hit hardest despite billions in bailouts and substantial payouts to executives. Wind energy employment grew by nearly 2%. Jobs in the electric and hybrid-electric vehicle sectors grew by 8% and 6% respectively, and battery storage jobs also increased.

“While we do have work to do to make our energy sector more robust, we also have a lot of work to do in making our energy sector look like America and to make sure that these new clean energy jobs are paying family-sustaining wages, with good benefits and union membership,” DOE Secretary Jennifer Granholm said during a virtual report release.

As reported by Reuters:

The U.S. energy workforce, from fossil fuels to solar power, shed 840,000 jobs in 2020 as the global health crisis sapped demand for transportation fuels and slowed new projects, according to the annual U.S. Energy Employment Report.

The largest declines were in petroleum and natural gas fuels with a combined loss of 186,000 jobs, or 21% of their workforce, according to the report. Employment in the wind energy industry was among the only sectors to grow, rising a modest 1.8%.

The Biden administration is pushing several initiatives to boost clean energy industries as part of a sweeping infrastructure package being hashed out by Congress, arguing that a transition away from fossil fuels can create millions of good-paying union jobs while countering climate change.

For a deeper dive:

Reuters, The Hill

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