Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) in collaboration with The Clean Energy Project (CEP) have produced an in-depth report into the current status of clean energy jobs in Nevada. The report is part of an on-going effort to formulate a better understanding of the economic and job creation impacts of the energy efficiency and clean energy sector throughout Nevada. From their extensive research it is hoped that we will be able to better identify opportunities and create policies to further drive job growth in the State.
The report found that clean energy jobs (which consist of energy efficiency, smart grid, energy generation and clean transport) employed 31,194 in 2017, an increase of 2,700 or 9.5% on 2016. The vast majority of jobs reside in energy efficiency and renewable energy (52% and 45.6% respectively). Jobs in energy efficiency are relatively evenly spread between several industries with the majority in Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC), but then significant contributions from LED lighting, Energy Star Appliances and Advanced Building Materials and Insulation. In renewable energy however almost all jobs were in solar (13,852 out of 14,500) which is unsurprising considering the significant solar resources available in Nevada.
Potential areas of growth?
While energy efficiency and renewable energy made up the majority of current jobs, the report highlighted areas that could see significant growth over the coming years. One notable area is that of Advanced Transportation. As cited in ImpactNV’s previous articles, Electric Vehicles (EVs) are set for a huge increase over the forthcoming decade. Las Vegas is the city with the largest EV growth in the United States and with companies such as Tesla basing themselves in Nevada this trend looks likely to continue. With this comes an increase in business and therefore employment opportunities.
Smart grids is another part of the clean energy sector in which we can expect significant job growth. Nevada has an aging grid system that was not designed for renewable energy generation. Improvements to the grid and new grid construction is likely to be in the form of smart grids. These help utilities to manage the grid system, ensuring that it is balanced and supply meets demand at any given time. They also allow the addition of storage and multiple clean energy generation sources.
The report puts forward some policy suggestions to enhance job growth in the clean energy industry. With the landmark vote on energy choice in 2018 it could drastically change the industry. If the public vote in favour of energy choice it is imperative that policy is implemented to ensure any retailers’ source a certain percentage of energy from renewable resources. In conjunction with this they should look to run energy efficiency programs. There are also calls to build upon the current EV infrastructure and encourage the charging of vehicles at times of low demand.
The clean energy industry continues to grow and this is likely to continue. The work by E2 and CEP illustrates the progress made, but also the huge potential for Nevada to create further employment within the sector and this can then be used to drive toward a more sustainable economy.