After Rough Year, Clean Energy Jobs on the Upswing  in Wisconsin

Wisconsin clean energy jobs declined in 2020’s pandemic-wracked economy, but the second half of the year showed significant recovery amid strong promise for the future

Quick Facts

Jobs in 2020
Clean energy jobs declined for the first time in years, but the industry bounced back strongly in the second half of the year
Growth of jobs in alternative transportation, the state’s fastest-growing sector

Clean energy companies employed 69,343 Wisconsinites at the end of 2020, a 9.6 percent drop from 2019 and the first year-to-year decline since Clean Jobs Midwest began tracking Wisconsin clean energy jobs in 2017. But Wisconsin’s clean energy sector grew by 6.2 percent in the second half of the year. Despite the industry’s overall decline, more than twice as many Wisconsinites worked in clean energy than the number of lawyers, accountants and auditors, web developers, and real estate agents combined.   

Clean Energy Jobs in Wisconsin

While clean energy suffered like many sectors of the economy in 2020, the prospects for growth are greater than ever given the climate policy proposals from the Biden administration, along with state leadership.   

The shift to a cleaner economy would create major new opportunities for job seekers throughout the region—including in communities impacted by the ongoing decline of other parts of the energy sector such as coal, oil, and gas. It also promises to create consumer and business savings through energy efficiency and lower-cost renewable energy, which is especially impactful for low- and moderate-income communities, rural communities and communities of color, especially as the economy continues to recover. 

Jobs by Sector

The biggest part of Wisconsin’s clean energy sector is energy efficiency, accounting for more than 80 percent of the region’s clean energy jobs. But as more automakers and their suppliers continue to shift to electric vehicles, the advanced transportation sector saw a job increase of 4 percent for a total of 4,808 workers.    

Among advanced transportation sub-sectors, hybrid cars and electric vehicles were the state’s bright spots. Hybrid vehicle manufacturing employees grew by 7.2 percent to 2,281 workers. Electric-vehicle (EV) sector jobs grew by an even healthier 9.7 percent to 1,176 workers, and are poised for future growth with supportive policies and significant commitments to EVs by major vehicle manufacturers like Ford and GM and their suppliers. Wind energy jobs, another highlight in Wisconsin, grew by 11 percent to 1,797 workers. 

Policies Matter

As lawmakers look to rebuild a better, cleaner, more equitable economy, the clean energy sector is a proven and solid foundation on which to build in the Midwest. To keep clean energy jobs growing – and ensure that they’re available to all Americans – Congress must:    

  • Transportation and Grid Modernization— Pass and fund legislation to create a national car-charging network, expand building efficiency improvement, and modernize our electric grid.   
  • Tax Policy—Extend, expand, and improve accessibility of federal tax incentives for energy efficiency, wind, solar, energy storage, and zero-emission vehicles.   
  • Innovation—Make federal Investments in clean energy, vehicle and battery storage, energy efficiency, and regenerative and low-carbon agriculture.   
  • Workforce Training—Better fund existing programs and pass new programs to create new employment opportunities, improve equity, and meet the workforce requirements of a better, cleaner economy.    
  • Clean Energy Finance—Facilitate and leverage privately financed clean energy projects and improve equity.   

Wisconsin can also expand clean energy jobs by enacting state policies that support renewable energy, energy efficiency and electric vehicles. These policies can help create thousands of new jobs as the post-pandemic recovery kicks into gear.  Wisconsin lawmakers should also include equity, wage, and benefit considerations when they consider clean energy projects and policies. 

Clean energy jobs are found in every corner of Wisconsin. While big cities like Milwaukee (18,574) and Madison (8,081) are some of the largest hubs for clean energy jobs, more than 25 percent — or more than 17,600 — jobs are located in rural areas. 

Subsector Details

Value Chain

Each category below captures jobs from multiple clean energy sectors and industries. The majority of clean energy jobs in Wisconsin are in manufacturing and construction.   

Job Highlights

Small businesses drive the state’s clean energy sector – in 2020, 62 percent of Wisconsin’s clean energy businesses employed fewer than 20 people
More than 11% of Wisconsin’s clean energy workers were veterans in 2020  

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 2021 U.S. Energy Employment Report (2021 USEER), produced by the United States Department of Energy (DOE) and collected and analyzed by BW Research Partnership (BWRP) in partnership with the Energy Futures Initiative (EFI) and the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO). For more information on the survey methodology, please visit

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