Energy efficiency jobs: Where does Tennessee stand?

New findings of a national energy efficiency report reveal energy efficiency is the largest sector within the U.S. clean energy economy.

According to the report, this sector accounts for three in four of its jobs and employs nearly 1.9 million people nationwide.

The document, entitled “Energy Efficiency Jobs in America,” was released by Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2), E4TheFuture, and BW Research Partnership.

The energy efficiency industry helps customers squeeze more productivity and comfort out of the same amount – or less – energy. Its workers install smart lighting, for example, or seal duct leaks in HVAC systems or insulate walls and ceilings. They also make climate control systems run better or manufacture state-of-the-art appliances.

In short, they figure out how to help homes and businesses run leaner by lowering utility bills.

For the Volunteer State, the report says about 27,500 Tennesseans work in energy efficiency related jobs. The majority of employment is focused on traditional HVAC and renewable and efficiency heating and cooling technologies.

There are also a few thousand workers who support Energy Star appliances, efficient lighting, and advanced material and insulation.

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Most firms are either primarily focused on installation or trade. Installation firms account for 45 percent of establishments and trade firms account for a third. 59 percent of these businesses are small, with fewer than 11 permanent employees each.

But Tennessee has representation across medium to large-sized establishments as well. Just over a quarter (27 percent) report 11 to 99 permanent workers, and nine percent note 100 workers or more. 63 percent of firms derive the majority of revenue from this work, with 37 percent noting all of their revenue is attributable to energy efficiency services.

Tennessee ranked 25th in the nation in the 2016 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard, moving up six places since the 2015 ranking. The state scored very low in the utilities category because both investments and therefore energy savings are lower than the national average (ACEEE).

When it comes to a county-by-county basis, the following counties had the highest recorded energy efficiency employment.

  1. Shelby county 5,650
  2. Davidson county 5,449
  3. Knox county 3,689
  4. Williamson county 1,768
  5. Rutherford county 1,342
  6. Hamilton county 835
  7. Sumner county 788
  8. Wilson county 715
  9. Blount county 635
  10. Anderson county 627

The following is a graph for Metropolitan Statistical Areas. (MSAs)

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Here is a graph comparing energy efficiency employment to the corresponding congressional districts in numerical order.

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A Booming Advanced Energy Economy, 8.1 Million Jobs and Counting

 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.

Screen Shot 2016-06-07 at 11.20.27 PMAnd, 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.

Source: Bloomberg CleanTechnica

TN Advanced Energy Economic Impact Report: Snapshot of media coverage

On June 17, the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council released the Tennessee Advanced Energy Economic Impact Report, the first document of its kind that defines the scope and scale of Tennessee’s advanced energy sector and quantifies its economic impact.

The report received statewide media coverage and recognition of advanced energy as an economic driver for Tennessee and a source of high quality jobs. It was distributed to more than 200 local, state and national economic development stakeholders.

Here’s a snapshot of the media coverage from the report release, with links to the full stories. Enjoy!

Tennessee could be a major player in $200B advanced energy economy (Knoxville News Sentinel)
“Tennessee is poised to take a significant chunk of the nation’s $200 billion advanced energy sector according to a new report from the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council. The state’s advanced energy sector employs nearly 325,000 individuals…and the jobs pay well above the state average.”

Advanced energy industry grows in Tennessee (Chattanooga Times Free Press)
“Much of the growth in Tennessee is being driven by the automotive industry, which is working to reach a fleet average mileage standard of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025.”

Report: Tennessee leader in ‘advanced energy’ (The Tennessean)
“’We see advanced energy as an economic driver, especially in rural areas,’ said Steve Bares, president and executive director of Memphis Bioworks Foundation.”

New report tracks Tennessee’s economic impact in ‘advanced energy’ sector (Kingsport Times-News)
“Advanced energy provides a home for Tennessee’s emerging workforce as the state attempts to get 55 percent of Tennesseans equipped with a college degree or certificate by 2025.”

Study: Advanced energy business contributes $33.4 billion to state GDP (Memphis Business Journal)
“Schneider Electric’s Jim Plourde said compiling the information was important for increasing visibility, highlighting Tennessee as a leader in the field, showcasing opportunities to an emerging workforce and driving the economy.”

Budding advanced energy sector grows in Tennessee (
“The [advanced energy] industry provides opportunities for entrepreneurs. A developing sector means ripe opportunities for new ideas and businesses.”

TAEBC releases first-ever look at state’s advanced energy sector (
“Advanced energy is a lucrative growth sector and a source of high quality jobs in the Volunteer State, according to a new report from the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council (TAEBC).”

Schneider Electric among state leaders in advanced energy sector (Daily News Journal)
“’National studies show rapid growth that outpaces the rest of the economy,’ said Matt Murray, with the Howard Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy, which produced the report. He added it also found employment growth in the sector was more robust than any other sector from 2012 to 2013.”

TAEBC releases first advanced energy economic impact report

Tennessee’s advanced energy sector is a rapidly expanding and lucrative growth sector in Tennessee and a source of high-quality jobs, according to a new report released today, Wednesday, June 17, 2015 by the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council (TAEBC) and the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy.

The Tennessee Advanced Energy Economic Impact Report is the first document of its kind that defines the scope and scale of Tennessee’s advanced energy sector and quantifies its economic impact. It identifies the number of jobs, contribution to state GDP and state/local taxes and number of companies associated with the state’s advanced energy sector.

Key findings from the report include:

  • Advanced energy is a rapidly expanding and lucrative growth sector in Tennessee. Nearly 325,000 jobs are supported by 17,334 firms in the state’s advanced energy sector in 2013.
  • Advanced energy requires skilled labor and thus is a source of high quality jobs in Tennessee.
    The annual average wage of a worker in advanced energy was $48,764, which is well above the state average.
  • Tennessee manufacturers benefit from a robust advanced energy sector.
    Especially Tennessee’s automotive manufacturers that are integrating advanced energy technologies into their processes and products as a result of higher fuel economy standards.
  • Advanced energy contributes significantly to our state and local economies.
    Tennessee’s advanced energy sector contributes $33.4 billion to state gross domestic product, while workers in the advanced energy sector pay more than $820 million in sales tax to state and local governments.
  • Advanced energy represents an opportunity to promote rural economic development.
    Currently, almost 80 percent of advanced energy activity is centered in just 20 counties in Tennessee. Davidson County leads Tennessee’s advanced energy economy.
    Rural Tennessee could benefit from further growth in advanced energy activity.
  • Tennessee is not the only state vying for a piece of the advanced energy economy. Highlighting our assets and opportunities will provide Tennessee with a competitive edge in the recruitment and retention of the advanced energy sector.
    Approximately 11 states including Arkansas, North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida are benchmarking and tracking their advanced energy economies.

“Advanced energy” is defined as any technology that makes energy cleaner, safer, more secure and more efficient. Rather than favoring specific technologies, advanced energy is technology neutral. Examples include electric and plug-in hybrid cars, lightweight composites for the automotive industry, natural gas fueled trucks, pollution control equipment, bio energy, high-performance buildings, more efficient industrial processes, power reliability, smart grids, combined heat and power and the latest power generation technologies.

Read the news release here.

The report is available online here.

Coming Soon: Tennessee Advanced Energy Economic Impact Report

Next week, the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council and the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy will release the Tennessee Advanced Energy Economic Impact Report.

The report is the first document of its kind that defines the scope of Tennessee’s advanced energy sector and quantifies its economic impact. It identifies the number of jobs, contribution to state Gross Domestic Product (GDP), state/local taxes and the number of companies associated with Tennessee’s advanced energy sector.

Stay tuned for more information about the report, which will be available online on Wednesday, June 17.