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Clean Energy is Key for Economic Recovery in Ohio

As Ohio and the rest of America look toward economic recovery, the clean energy industry will play a key role because of its size, reach, and growth potential. 

2019 Quick Facts

+1900
Jobs in 2019
4x
Clean energy jobs grew more than 4 times as fast as overall statewide employment
73%
of clean energy jobs in Ohio are energy efficiency jobs

Prior to the COVID-19 crisis, clean energy companies employed 114,000 Ohioans, and clean energy jobs were growing, according to the latest available data. Across the state in 2019, the industry added more than 1,900 new jobs. At the end of 2019, more people in Ohio worked in clean energy than the combined workforce of real estate agents and brokers, 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 20,400 workers in clean energy-related companies lost their jobs.

Clean Energy Jobs in Ohio

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.

Jobs by Sector

The state’s largest clean energy employer remains energy efficiency. The sector has been home to more than 73 percent of Ohio clean energy jobs and grew 1.8 percent in 2019.

Last year, renewable energy jobs grew at a faster rate in Ohio than in any other Midwestern state — 7.8 percent. The state also experienced job growth in clean fuels (0.7 percent) and grid and storage (5.2 percent).

Clean energy jobs are found in every corner of Ohio. While big cities like Cleveland (22,000 jobs), Columbus (16,000), and Cincinnati (16,000) were some of the largest hubs, more than fifteen percent — or more than 17,500 jobs — were at the end of 2019 located in rural areas.

Thousands of different Ohio companies and establishments employ clean energy workers. Before the crisis hit, these employers anticipated adding 4,800 clean energy jobs in 2020 — a projected growth rate of more than 4 percent.

Policies Matter

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:

  •  Boost renewables: Secure projects and jobs that rely on incentive-based funding by extending federal clean energy incentive deadlines to account for COVID-19-related delays. Also, extend, expand, and reform clean energy incentives like the Production Tax Credit and expired energy efficiency tax credits for commercial and residential buildings and include direct pay options for each.
  • Rev up advanced transportation: Invest in the infrastructure we need to expand the nation’s electric vehicle charging network and clean fuel infrastructure; support robust fuel efficiency standards.
  • Keep energy efficiency on track: Fund energy efficiency programs to immediately restore demand for the services of the electricians, construction workers, installers, and factory workers whose jobs have been impacted by COVID.
  • Invest in energy storage and other cutting-edge technologies: Increase funding for U.S. Department of Energy programs like the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) and the federal loan guarantee program. This will spur the kinds of world-leading innovations we need to create new opportunities now while also driving growth for decades to come.

Ohio can also do its part to help save and create jobs during the recovery from the COVID-19 crisis by adopting state policies that support renewables, energy efficiency, electric vehicles, and the supply chains of clean energy technologies like these. In addition, House Bill 6 (HB 6) ended the state’s energy efficiency and renewable energy standards for utilities, hurting the ongoing development of the clean energy economy.

Ohio should enact new policies that grow the state’s clean energy economy. Meanwhile, Ohio cities like Cincinnati and Columbus must continue to lead the way by advancing clean energy and clean transportation at the local level.

Subsector Details

Value Chain

Each category below captures jobs from multiple clean energy sectors and industries. In 2019, the majority of clean energy jobs in Ohio were in manufacturing and construction.

Job Highlights

62%
Small businesses drive the state’s clean energy sector -- 62 percent of Ohio’s clean energy businesses employed fewer than 20 individuals in 2019
11%
In 2019, 11 percent of clean energy workers were veterans -- nearly twice the representation of veterans in the state’s overall workforce

Find out how many clean energy jobs are in your country or district.

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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

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