Clean jobs on the rise in Missouri, region

Source: By Jason Taylor, MissouriNet • Posted: Friday, September 15, 2017

Green jobs are on the rise in the Show-Me state.  A new analysis shows there are now more than 55,000 people working in clean energy throughout Missouri, a more than 5% increase since 2015.

The Clean Jobs Midwest report shows the state leads the Midwest region in number of energy storage and smart grid jobs.

The study shows Missouri’s biggest job growth in the segment occurred in the renewable energy sector. Jobs in wind, solar, geothermal, bio-energy, and low-impact hydroelectric power grew by 14.5% in the past year.

According to the study, Missouri employs 2,663 workers in solar energy generation and 931 in wind energy generation. The analysis is compiled by Clean Energy Trust (CET) and the national nonpartisan business group Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2).

Job growth across five different clean energy sectors tracked by the report is occurring more than three times faster than overall job growth in the state. The study shows almost 50% of all clean jobs in Missouri are in construction – 27,514, while 22% of the segment’s jobs – 12,490 – are in manufacturing.

The Clean Jobs Midwest report examines the segment’s employment in 12 states – Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

Missouri’s share of clean jobs in the workforce among those states is slightly below average, ranking seventh at 1.78%. It’s tied for sixth in clean job growth at 5.3% between 2015 and 2016. By comparison, neighboring Iowa experienced 6.9% clean job growth rate over the same time period.

There’s evidence clean job growth in Missouri is being matched by usage of green energy. Late last year, the Kansas City Star reported that Missouri installed enough solar power to provide approximately 15,000 homes with electricity. Approximately $50 million was invested in the state’s solar energy market last year as well.

Currently, the state derives approximately 1% of its power from solar energy.  Sun drenched states such as California, Nevada and Arizona have much higher solar penetration, ranging from 54% to 60%.

Tony Wyche, who is Environmental Entrepreneurs’ Missouri-based consultant, thinks government needs to help ensure the state continues to make progress in clean energy.

“Missouri and other states are leading the clean energy revolution in America,” says Wyche. “Missouri has quickly become a clean energy job hub, with clean energy job growth outpacing most other industries. But we need policymakers in Jefferson City and Washington, D.C. to promote clean energy development to ensure that America doesn’t fall behind global competitors.”