Clean energy companies employed more than 31,000 Iowans at the end of 2022, an over 3 percent increase from 2021. Clean energy is a significant part of Iowa’s economy. More than six times as many Iowans worked in clean energy than the number of lawyers, web developers, and real estate agents combined. In 2022, clean energy jobs grew more than twice as fast as the overall economy, and this growth is expected to continue as 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.
The biggest sector in Iowa’s clean energy industry is energy efficiency, comprising nearly 62 percent of the state’s clean energy workforce. The 19,343 energy efficiency workers in Iowa 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 over 11 percent in Iowa. The sector added nearly 400 new jobs for a total of 3,828 workers. Electric vehicle-related jobs accounted for most of the sector’s growth.
Renewable energy jobs in solar (12% growth) continue to see gains throughout the state while smaller, emerging subsectors like battery storage technologies (7% growth) and grid modernization (9% growth) are also continuing to grow.
Clean energy jobs are found in every corner of the state. While big cities like Des Moines (7,550) and Cedar Rapids (2,973) are some of the largest hubs for clean energy jobs, more than one in three — or more than 12,000 — jobs are in rural areas.
While recent federal policies, including investments and tax credits for energy efficiency upgrades, EV and solar purchases and new clean energy projects create strong tailwinds, there is still more to do. To meet the nation’s climate goals of reducing climate emissions by 50 percent by 2030, improve equity in the clean energy economy and grow clean energy jobs, lawmakers and policymakers should:
Across all clean energy sectors, the majority of clean energy jobs in Iowa were in construction and manufacturing.
Learn even more about clean energy jobs in the Midwest.More Jobs Data
Unless otherwise stated, the data and analyses presented in this report by Evergreen Climate Innovations and Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) are based on data collected for the 2023 U.S. Energy Employment Report (2023 USEER), produced by the United States Department of Energy (DOE) and collected and analyzed by BW Research Partnership (BWRP).