10 States Leading the Pack in Clean Energy Jobs
By Joel Jaeger
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, there are 374,000 American jobs in solar energy, 102,000 in wind energy and more than 2.2 million related to energy efficiency. For comparison, 160,000 Americans work in coal, 360,000 in natural gas and 515,000 in oil.
Solar and wind are among the most dynamic industries in the nation. In 2016, solar employment expanded 17 times faster than the overall economy. Wind turbine technicians are expected to be the fastest-growing occupation over the next 10 years.
America's clean energy jobs are spread out far and wide. Below, see if you can find your state in the top 10 for solar, wind and energy efficiency employment:
A Closer Look at the Top States for Clean Energy Development
Texas is the top state for wind jobs and California is the top state for solar and energy efficiency jobs. Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, North Carolina and Ohio also rank in the top 10 in multiple categories.
Of course, it's easier for Texas and California to be at the top of the list because they have such large populations. But what about the concentration of clean energy jobs as a proportion of total state employment?
Looking at employment on a per capita basis, North Dakota and South Dakota somewhat surprisingly come out on top for wind. About 4.3 out of every 1,000 jobs in North Dakota are in wind energy, as are 3.6 of every 1,000 in South Dakota. On solar, California still leads the pack even on a per capita basis, with solar accounting for 9.3 out of every 1,000 jobs. Nevada is a close second, with 8.9 out of every 1,000 jobs in solar energy. For energy efficiency, the leading states are Vermont (35.8 out of every 1,000 jobs) and Delaware (28.5 out of every 1,000 jobs).
Looking Beyond Electricity
It's not just in electricity, either. The share of the auto industry working with alternative fuels and fuel-efficient vehicles is growing as well. Of the 2.4 million workers in the industry in early 2016, more than 259,000 worked with alternative-fuel vehicles (including natural gas, hybrids, plug-in hybrids, all electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles) and at least 710,000 workers were focused on improving fuel economy or transitioning to alternative fuels.
It's clear that clean energy is driving job growth across the U.S. creating new economic opportunities and cutting across party lines. The question now is: Will the clean energy revolution continue under the Trump administration?
At first glance, you wouldn't think avocados and almonds could harm bees; but a closer look at how these popular crops are produced reveals their potentially detrimental effect on pollinators.
Migratory beekeeping involves trucking millions of bees across the U.S. to pollinate different crops, including avocados and almonds. Timothy Paule II / Pexels / CC0<p>According to <a href="https://www.fromthegrapevine.com/israeli-kitchen/beekeeping-how-to-keep-bees" target="_blank">From the Grapevine</a>, American avocados also fully depend on bees' pollination to produce fruit, so farmers have turned to migratory beekeeping as well to fill the void left by wild populations.</p><p>U.S. farmers have become reliant upon the practice, but migratory beekeeping has been called exploitative and harmful to bees. <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2019/05/10/health/avocado-almond-vegan-partner/index.html" target="_blank">CNN</a> reported that commercial beekeeping may injure or kill bees and that transporting them to pollinate crops appears to negatively affect their health and lifespan. Because the honeybees are forced to gather pollen and nectar from a single, monoculture crop — the one they've been brought in to pollinate — they are deprived of their normal diet, which is more diverse and nourishing as it's comprised of a variety of pollens and nectars, Scientific American reported.</p><p>Scientific American added how getting shuttled from crop to crop and field to field across the country boomerangs the bees between feast and famine, especially once the blooms they were brought in to fertilize end.</p><p>Plus, the artificial mass influx of bees guarantees spreading viruses, mites and fungi between the insects as they collide in midair and crawl over each other in their hives, Scientific American reported. According to CNN, some researchers argue that this explains why so many bees die each winter, and even why entire hives suddenly die off in a phenomenon called colony collapse disorder.</p>
Avocado and almond crops depend on bees for proper pollination. FRANK MERIÑO / Pexels / CC0<p>Salazar and other Columbian beekeepers described "scooping up piles of dead bees" year after year since the avocado and citrus booms began, according to Phys.org. Many have opted to salvage what partial colonies survive and move away from agricultural areas.</p><p>The future of pollinators and the crops they help create is uncertain. According to the United Nations, nearly half of insect pollinators, particularly bees and butterflies, risk global extinction, Phys.org reported. Their decline already has cascading consequences for the economy and beyond. Roughly 1.4 billion jobs and three-quarters of all crops around the world depend on bees and other pollinators for free fertilization services worth billions of dollars, Phys.org noted. Losing wild and native bees could <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/wild-bees-crop-shortage-2646849232.html" target="_self">trigger food security issues</a>.</p><p>Salazar, the beekeeper, warned Phys.org, "The bee is a bioindicator. If bees are dying, what other insects beneficial to the environment... are dying?"</p>
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