A Majority Renewables Grid by 2030 Will Support 980,000 Direct Jobs in US: Report

A Majority Renewables Grid by 2030 Will Support 980,000 Direct Jobs in US: Report

A new study has found that reaching a majority renewables grid over the next decade will support 980,000 direct jobs in the US

Renewables Jobs US

According to a new ‘first-of-its-kind’ study, released by Wood Mackenzie and the American Clean Power Association (ACP), reaching a majority renewables grid will deploy over USD 1 trillion in capital investment into the American economy over the next decade, while supporting 980,000 direct jobs, stabilising wholesale power prices, and reducing US carbon emissions by over 60 percent.

However, targeted administrative actions and Legislative policies are essential for the US to achieve these benefits within the next ten years.

“A majority renewables electric system for the US is possible within a decade and will deliver much-needed investments in our economy and create a pathway toward steady, well-paying employment for workers across the country.

“This research shows that a collaborative promise of an American grid powered by wind, solar, hydropower, energy storage, and other renewables represents an economic powerhouse that will lead our country towards a more prosperous, healthier, and cleaner future,” said Amy Farrell, ACP Senior Vice President of Government and Public Affairs.

Earlier this year, the American wind, solar, hydropower, and energy storage industries had united around a joint vision to generate over half of the country’s electricity within ten years. Pan-renewable industry leaders agreed to actively collaborate to achieve this target. The latest analysis from Wood Mackenzie details how renewable energy industries can collectively move towards building a more resilient, efficient, sustainable, and affordable American grid.

A recently released Clean Energy Road Map proposed by the American Wind Energy Association, which is merging into the American Clean Power Association in January 2021, lays out how the US federal government can rapidly accelerate this economic growth and renewable energy deployment through executive and legislative action starting in 2021. As this analysis makes clear, transmission infrastructure expansion and improvements are critical to enabling this transition to a cleaner American electric grid.

It further adds that administrative actions to accelerate federal permitting and remove regulatory hurdles for transmission will help get affordable, clean power to where it is needed most by consumers, while also smoothly integrating offshore wind into the nation’s energy portfolio. Continued advances in renewable energy technology and the increased use of energy storage to meet consumer demand will also help improve system reliability and drive wholesale power prices lower. And considering the strong empirical track record of transmission more than paying for itself, this future is possible with limited impact on customer wallets.

This is a win-win opportunity. Striving for high renewable penetration not only serves clean energy goals, but also supports economic growth. With these actions and policies in place wind, solar, energy storage, and transmission will directly employ nearly one million Americans by the end of the decade, including over 800,000 Americans in construction and technician jobs, alongside 173,000 in factory, distribution, and development jobs.

These high-quality jobs in the clean energy workforce pay an average of USD 60,000-110,000/year. Significant investments in US factories and domestic energy production will help achieve this progress and offer a new path to employment for displaced legacy energy industry workers as those industries begin to dial back.

It also finds that the job benefits from a 50 percent renewable energy future will be felt in states from coast to coast. For example, Indiana, Pennsylvania, California, Ohio, New Jersey, New York, and Virginia will each gain over 30,000 new jobs, with Illinois, Maryland, and North Carolina each adding over 20,000. Another 11 states will add at least 10,000 new jobs as part of the transition to a cleaner electric grid. These careers include those in new and expanded domestic manufacturing facilities to provide the local supply chains required for clean energy development.

Furthermore, local benefits will not end at job creation and economic growth—these renewable projects will be major contributors to state and local tax revenues, as well as payments to landowners. Pushing towards a 50 percent renewable energy future is expected to deliver upwards of USD 64 billion over the decade in tax and landowner-lease payments.

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Ayush Verma

Ayush is a staff writer at saurenergy.com and writes on renewable energy with a special focus on solar and wind. Prior to this, as an engineering graduate trying to find his niche in the energy journalism segment, he worked as a correspondent for iamrenew.com.