Over the last few year green jobs have seen unprecedented growth. Far from slowing down the rate of growth of green jobs appears to be accelerating. Currently there are 620K people working in the renewable energy sector in the US. Globally millions of jobs have already been created by the green economy and it is estimated that by 2030 there will be 20 million jobs in the sustainability sector.
In addition to the jobs directly created in the renewable energy industry like those in solar, wind, hydroelectric and geothermal energy there are ancillary jobs like those in the green building sector, green vehicles, green chemistry and even green accounting. All of these industries have positive economic “ripple” effects.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics green jobs grew fourfold from 2010 to 2011. Clean energy jobs are growing 2.5 times as fast as traditional jobs. Economists at the University of California, indicated that the climate bill passed in 2009 could generate as many as 2 million new jobs. In the second quarter of this year alone more than 12,500 clean energy and clean transportation jobs were created.
According to the National Solar Jobs Census, the US solar industry alone employed more than 142,000 people in 2013. This represents a 19.9 percent increase from 2012 and a 53 percent increase in the last four years.
More than 500 factories in the U.S. manufacture parts for wind turbines, and the amount of domestically manufactured equipment used in wind turbines has grown dramatically in recent years: from 35 percent in 2006 to 70 percent in 2011. As of the end of 2013 there were 50,500 wind energy jobs
While clean energy jobs are increasing fossil fuel electric generation sector experienced an 8.7 percent decrease in jobs in 2013. Compared with fossil fuel technologies, more jobs are created for each unit of electricity generated from renewable sources than from fossil fuels.
Overall, cleantech is more job creating than fossil fuels. Investing one million dollars can create five jobs in natural gas, seven in coal, 13 in wind power, 14 in solar, 16 in biomass, 17 in building retrofits and a huge 22 jobs in mass transit and light rail.
The Union of Concerned Scientists conducted an analysis of the economic benefits of a 25 percent renewable energy standard by 2025; it found that such a policy would create more than three times as many jobs as producing an equivalent amount of electricity from fossil fuels—resulting in a benefit of 202,000 new jobs in 2025.