Story at a glance

  • Renewable and clean energy sectors pay more than other jobs, according to new wage data.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted mass layoffs within the sector due to the simultaneous recession.

A new study reveals that jobs in the burgeoning renewable and clean energy sector can pay up to 25 percent more than the national median wage and are more likely to come with health insurance and retirement benefits.

The Houston Chronicle summarizes results from a study of federal occupational wage and benefits data, specifically within the energy sector. 

The study was conducted by E2, Washington-based advocacy group American Council on Renewable Energy and California-based networking group Clean Energy Leadership Institute.

It found that employees in the renewable energy sector earned an average of $48,000 annually, amounting to an hourly wage of $23.89. This also includes jobs within energy efficiency, grid modernization, and electric vehicles.

In the clean energy industry, which includes wind power, grid modernization and battery storage, employees earn a salary of $50,000, an average of $25 an hour.

Conversely, the national median hourly wage in 2019 was $19.14, which totaled to an annual salary of $38,000. 


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Despite an optimistic outlook for clean energy, the industry as a whole has struggled amid the pandemic-induced recession. In early October, unemployment filings revealed that approximately 500,000 clean energy workers were still unemployed following various layoffs at the start of the pandemic. 

Business leaders in the renewable energy sector have previously pushed for another round of stimulus funding to help the industry survive COVID-19 economic slowdowns. 

“To keep that unemployment number from rising further, our ask to Congress is simple and urgent: We need temporary refundability for renewable tax credits so that projects can continue to be built in spite of a COVID-constrained tax equity market, and a delay in the scheduled phasedown of existing credits in recognition of the adverse nationwide impact the pandemic has had on the renewable sector this year,” Gregory Wetstone, president and CEO of the American Council on Renewable Energy, said.


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Published on Oct 28, 2020