As the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council’s Economic Impact Report foretold in 2015, the advanced energy sector has but one direction to move in and that’s up.
A recent report released by the International Renewable Energy Agency – the Renewable Energy and Jobs Annual Review 2016 – shows that more than 8.1 million people worldwide are working in the global renewable energy industry. Renewables are one part of the advanced energy sector, but a growing sector at that.
And, in the U.S., for the first time jobs in solar energy overtook those in oil and natural gas extraction, helping drive a global surge in employment in the clean-energy business as fossil fuel companies began experiencing shaky ground.
U.S. solar business grew 12 times faster than overall job creation. Solar jobs are bolstered by state initiatives to spur clean energy development, leading to employers adding workers at record rates to install rooftop panels. In contrast, oil and gas producers have slashed 351,410 jobs worldwide since prices began to slide in the middle of 2014.
Globally, the workforce in clean energy is expected to grow to 24 million by 2030, if targets on climate change and development are met.
What does this translate to locally in Tennessee and the Southeast?
Tennessee, rich in advanced energy resources, is poised to continue rapidly expanding upon the nearly 325,00 advanced energy jobs, supported by more than 17,000 firms within the state.
As TAEBC Charter members and research assets, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the University of Tennessee, along with private sector innovators continue to research, develop and produce new ways to meet energy demands, Tennessee will undoubtedly lead the new energy economy.
The TAEBC Economic Impact Report showed that advanced energy requires skilled workers, serving as a primary source for high quality jobs. Manufacturers benefit from a robust advanced energy sector while advanced energy contributes significantly to state and local economies.
Tennessee is well-positioned to keep pace with the international trend, serving as a key contributor to a booming global advanced energy economy.