The energy sector added almost 300,000 jobs last year, about a 3.8% growth rate from 2021 to 2022, according to an annual study released Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Energy.
Every state saw an increase in clean energy jobs, a sector which grew 3.9% nationally, according to the 2023 U.S. Energy and Employment Report. Overall U.S. employment grew 3.1% across the same period.
“We’re only getting started,” Bob Keefe, executive director of the national, nonpartisan business group E2, said in a statement.
Solar and wind are the largest employment sectors among power generation technologies, DOE said. Solar gained more than 12,000 workers, growing 3.7%. Onshore wind added more than 5,000 workers, growing 4.4%. Offshore wind grew the fastest, at 20.3%, though it added a small number of jobs (less than 200) relative to other renewables.
Clean energy electricity technologies accounted for almost 87% of net new jobs in the power generation sector.
Energy efficiency jobs grew 2.3%, adding about 50,000 jobs between 2021 and 2022. But employers also report they expect about 6.4% growth in the efficiency sector this year.
“The clean energy transition is accelerating, with job growth across every pocket of America,” Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm said in a statement.
The most rapid growth was in battery electric vehicle jobs, DOE said, which added more than 28,000 jobs and grew 27%. “This is almost as many added jobs as in the gasoline and diesel vehicle sector, but at a growth rate that was 17 times faster,” according to the report.
Clean energy employment will continue to rise, Keefe said, noting that the DOE’s numbers do not include more than 60,000 jobs related to the Inflation Reduction Act and other federal policies encouraging growth in the sector.
“We are clearly in the first stages of the biggest and most important economic transition in America in generations,” he said.
As investments from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act “really start to gear up, I expect we’ll see this growth accelerate over the next few years,” Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., said in a statement.
But the growth in clean energy jobs has not been easy, employers report.
“When asked about their experience ‘finding qualified workers,’ more than four out of five employers across energy technologies reported at least ‘some difficulty,’” DOE said. Employers in the motor vehicles and energy efficiency sectors reported the highest difficulty in finding workers.