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Putting renewables and energy efficiency to work: How many jobs can the clean energy industry generate in the US?

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  • Wei, Max
  • Patadia, Shana
  • Kammen, Daniel M.

Abstract

An analytical job creation model for the US power sector from 2009 to 2030 is presented. The model synthesizes data from 15 job studies covering renewable energy (RE), energy efficiency (EE), carbon capture and storage (CCS) and nuclear power. The paper employs a consistent methodology of normalizing job data to average employment per unit energy produced over plant lifetime. Job losses in the coal and natural gas industry are modeled to project net employment impacts. Benefits and drawbacks of the methodology are assessed and the resulting model is used for job projections under various renewable portfolio standards (RPS), EE, and low carbon energy scenarios We find that all non-fossil fuel technologies (renewable energy, EE, low carbon) create more jobs per unit energy than coal and natural gas. Aggressive EE measures combined with a 30% RPS target in 2030 can generate over 4 million full-time-equivalent job-years by 2030 while increasing nuclear power to 25% and CCS to 10% of overall generation in 2030 can yield an additional 500,000 job-years.

Suggested Citation

  • Wei, Max & Patadia, Shana & Kammen, Daniel M., 2010. "Putting renewables and energy efficiency to work: How many jobs can the clean energy industry generate in the US?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 919-931, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:38:y:2010:i:2:p:919-931
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Lehr, Ulrike & Nitsch, Joachim & Kratzat, Marlene & Lutz, Christian & Edler, Dietmar, 2008. "Renewable energy and employment in Germany," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 108-117, January.
    2. Jacobson, Arne & Kammen, Daniel M., 2007. "Engineering, institutions, and the public interest: Evaluating product quality in the Kenyan solar photovoltaics industry," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(5), pages 2960-2968, May.
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