Illinois Clean Energy & Transportation Jobs are Growing

Illinois’ clean energy and clean transportation jobs grew by 3 percent in 2022 and the industry is poised for continued growth thanks to federal climate investments passed last year and the implementation of the Illinois Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA) passed in 2021.

Quick Facts

Growth in clean energy jobs in 2022
Clean energy jobs
Growth of jobs in the clean vehicle sector, the state's fastest-growing sector in 2022

Clean energy companies employed more than 123,000 Illinoisans at the end of 2022, growing by more than 3,000 jobs, a 3 percent increase from 2021 and 8 percent increase since 2020. Illinois leads the Midwest in the generation, grid & storage, energy efficiency, and clean fuels sectors. Clean energy is a significant part of Illinois’ economy: more than three times as many Illinoisans worked in clean energy than the number of lawyers, web developers, and real estate agents combined. In 2022, clean energy jobs grew faster than the overall economy, and this growth is expected to continue as state policy and federal clean energy and vehicle incentives lead to new clean energy projects, a resurgence of domestic manufacturing, and lower upfront costs for homeowners to make energy efficiency improvements.

Clean Energy Jobs in Illinois

The biggest sector in Illinois’ clean energy industry is energy efficiency, comprising over 68 percent of the state’s clean energy workforce. The 84,351 energy efficiency workers in Illinois manufacture ENERGY STAR-rated appliances, install efficient lighting, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, and install advanced building materials in homes and commercial buildings.

As more automakers and their suppliers continued to shift to electric vehicles, the clean transportation sector saw an increase in employment of nearly 7 percent in Illinois. The sector added almost 900 new jobs for a total of 13,968 workers. Electric vehicle-related jobs accounted for most of the sector’s growth.

Renewable energy jobs in solar (8% growth) continue to see gains throughout the state while smaller, emerging subsectors like battery storage technologies (7% growth) and grid modernization (12% growth) are also continuing to grow.

Clean energy jobs are found in every corner of the state. While Chicago is the largest hub for clean energy with 85,415 jobs, more than 17,000 jobs are in rural areas.

Jobs by Sector

Policies Matter

Recent federal policies, like the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), and the CHIPS and Science Act, as well as state laws like the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act make unprecedented investments in the clean energy economy and create promise for strong future growth in clean energy jobs.

Still, there is more to do to meet the nation’s climate goals of reducing climate emissions by 50 percent by 2030, improving equity in the clean energy economy, and growing clean energy jobs:

  • Implement recently passed federal policies to support a rapid and just transition to clean energy. The IRA, IIJA, and the CHIPS and Science Act include a combined investment of hundreds of billions of dollars in the clean energy economy. Coordination across federal, state, and local agencies will be integral to maximize the effectiveness of this historic level of funding.
  • Continue to fund federal and state workforce development programs. One of the largest barriers to clean energy job growth is the challenge to fill open positions. Workforce training will be critical to the continued growth of the industry, as 84 percent of employers in Illinois report at least some difficulty hiring workers.
  • Expand our regional transmission grid and increase access for clean energy projects. The Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO)’s recent announcement of new transmission infrastructure will improve the region’s congested grid. More is needed from MISO and the Midwest’s other regional transmission organizations, PJM and the Southwest Power Pool, as many wind and solar projects will not be built if the transmission is not there to integrate them.
  • Advance state and local clean energy policies. Illinois has the opportunity to strengthen the state’s clean energy industry by building on the success of the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act and electrifying the transportation and building sectors. Standards like the Advanced Clean Truck rule and the Zero Emissions Vehicle rule will hasten the transition to electric vehicles and position the state to be a leader in jobs and electric vehicle manufacturing. To accelerate the electrification of buildings, the city of Chicago should join other major cities in adopting a building performance standard and require that all new buildings be built to run solely on electricity.

Subsector Details

Value Chain

Across all clean energy sectors, the majority of clean energy jobs in Illinois were in construction and professional services.

Job Highlights

Small businesses drive Illinois’ clean energy sector – in 2022, 73 percent of the state’s clean energy businesses employed fewer than 20 individuals
10 percent of the Illinois’ clean energy workers were veterans in 2022

Learn even more about clean energy jobs in the Midwest.

More Jobs Data

Fact Sheet

Media Kit

View More Resources Here

Energy Employment Report (2023 USEER), produced by the United States Department of Energy (DOE) and collected and analyzed by BW Research Partnership (BWRP).

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