November 26, 2020 at 5:48 am

A robust clean energy workforce is essential to delivering the benefits of energy efficiency programs to ratepayers

By Sandesh Ilhe

rid/storage or clean fuels sectors. That’s an increase of over 9 percent from 2015. In total, clean energy jobs accounted for 2.6 percent of all jobs and a gross state product of $6.5 billion in Connecticut in 2019.

The latest data comes from the first report by the Joint Committee of the Energy Efficiency Board and the Connecticut Green Bank Board of Directors, released Tuesday.

“A robust clean energy workforce is essential to delivering the benefits of energy efficiency programs to ratepayers. In these uncertain economic times, establishing a baseline estimate of these jobs is critical for maintaining and growing a green employment base in Connecticut,” said Neil W. Beup, Energy Efficiency Board chair.

In addition to jobs data, the report details clean energy employment by value chain segment, clean energy wages and wage premiums, employer hiring difficulties, geographic opportunity zones, and the demographic distribution of clean energy workers compared to state- and nationwide averages.

According to the report:

  • Since 2015, full-time equivalent clean energy jobs in Connecticut have grown by 13.9 percent, indicating that employees are spending more of their time on clean energy work in the state.
  • Energy efficiency workers represent eight out of 10 clean energy jobs. This sector has also seen the greatest growth since 2017, creating 1,257 new jobs— a growth rate of 3.6 percent.
  • Clean energy generation is the second largest sector. Businesses in this sector employ 4,830 workers and experienced a growth rate of 6.2 percent from 2017 to 2019. The majority of these workers are in the solar or nuclear sectors.
  • The majority of the surveyed clean energy jobs pay more than their corresponding occupational average, especially for entry-level workers. In total, just over three-quarters (76.9 percent) of clean energy jobs in Connecticut earn more than the corresponding occupational average across all levels of experience. For entry-level workers in particular, 92 percent of surveyed occupations are paid a premium.
  • Hiring difficulty in the clean energy industry in Connecticut was lower than the national clean energy industry average. The biggest challenges cited by employers were potential workers lacking experience, training or technical skills, and a small applicant pool for open positions.
  • Connecticut has a higher-than-average concentration of veterans in the clean energy industry compared to the statewide workforce overall and the national clean energy industry average. Women and Hispanic or Latinx and Black or African American workers are underrepresented compared to overall averages.

“While it’s good to see hiring challenges faced by clean energy employers are lower than those experienced nation-wide, there is still plenty of opportunity for job growth in the sector in Connecticut,” said Lonnie Reed, chair of the Connecticut Green Bank’s Board of Directors. “As we continue to strive to bring energy efficiency and renewables to all of society, we will need to create job opportunities across all demographics.”

The report also briefly explores the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 as the shutdown caused more than 6,500 industry job losses in March, April and May. The energy efficiency sector suffered the most with nearly 85 percent of these lost jobs in that sector. Overall, the pandemic derailed projected industry growth for the year, which had been estimated to surpass 46,000 clean energy jobs by the end of 2020; the current projection is now 40,668 jobs by year-end, less than total number of clean energy jobs at the end of 2016. A separate survey of clean energy contractors painted a stark picture of the impact and recovery, which most responded would take between 6-12 months after “stay at home” orders were lifted.

“While COVID-19 has impacted our progress, it has not weakened our resolve,” said Eric Brown, chair of the Joint Committee of the Energy Efficiency Board and the CT Green Bank. “Through the Energize CT initiative, we are committed to building a vibrant, resilient, and growing clean energy industry for Connecticut that can withstand future pandemics, budget pressures or other unforeseen challenges.”

In collaboration with the Connecticut Department of Labor and their Office of Workforce Competitiveness, a set of career profiles in clean energy were created that identify the requisite level of education, salary range, health care and retirement benefits, and more for ten specific clean energy technology jobs. These may be viewed on CT DOL’s Connecticut Green Occupations website.



Sandesh Ilhe

With an Engineers degree in Advanced Database Management and Information Security, Sandesh brings the deep understanding of the digital world to the table. His articles reflect the challenges and the complexities that come along with every disruption in the industry. He carries over six years of experience on working with websites and ensuring that the right article reaches the right reader.

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