Prior to the COVID-19 crisis, clean energy companies employed more than 24,000 Kansasans, and clean energy jobs were growing, according to the latest available data. Across the state in 2019, the industry added more than 550 new jobs. At the end of 2019, more people in Kansas worked in clean energy than the combined workforce of computer programmers, web developers, and waiters and waitresses. However, according to a recent analysis of U.S. Department of Labor unemployment data, in just the first three months after the pandemic began more than 3,500 workers in clean energy-related companies lost their jobs.
We’ve seen how government investment in clean energy can help create jobs and restart the economy. After the financial crisis, federal stimulus funding in 2009 contributed to the creation of hundreds of thousands of new clean energy jobs nationwide. It provided loans to help start about 500 new clean energy companies; weatherize thousands of homes and other buildings and helped triple the amount of energy America gets from solar and wind.
As federal and state lawmakers once again look toward economic recovery, Clean Jobs Midwest illustrates the size, reach, and importance of the clean energy industry at a pivotal moment for our nation’s economy.
The state’s largest clean energy employer remains energy efficiency. The sector has been home to 72 percent of Kansas clean energy jobs and grew 3.2 percent in 2019. The state also experienced job growth rate increases in clean fuels (3.3 percent), grid and storage (5.6 percent), and renewable energy generation (1.5 percent).
Clean energy jobs are found in every corner of the state. While the state’s big cities like Kansas City (8,800 jobs) and Wichita (4,900) were hubs, about 30 percent — or more than 7,600 jobs — were at the end of 2019 located in rural areas.
Thousands of different Kansas companies and establishments employ clean energy workers. Before the crisis hit, these employers anticipated adding over 900 clean energy jobs in 2020.
As lawmakers look to reinvigorate our economy and get America back to work, they must consider how they can support clean energy workers and provide stimulus funding that can drive job creation and economic growth for years to come.
At the federal level, lawmakers should:
Kansas can also do its part to help save and create jobs by adopting state policies that support renewables, energy efficiency, and electric vehicles. Specifically, the Kansas Corporation Commission should support energy efficiency investments and the enactment of a solar and electric vehicle tariff. The tariff will encourage solar development and electric vehicle utilization during times of day when it generates the greatest value for the grid and all customers.
Each category below captures jobs from multiple clean energy sectors and industries. In 2019, the majority of clean energy jobs in Kansas were in professional services and construction.
Find out how many clean energy jobs are in your country or district.More Jobs Data
Unless otherwise stated, the data and analyses presented in this report by Clean Energy Trust and Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) are based on data collected for the 2020 U.S. Energy Employment Report (2020 USEER), produced by the Energy Futures Initiative (EFI) in partnership with the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO) and collected and analyzed by BW Research Partnership (BWRP). For more information on the survey methodology please visit cleanjobsmidwest.com/about