Where are Colorado’s 62,000 clean energy jobs?

Source: By Cathy Proctor, The Business Journal • Posted: Friday, January 13, 2017

Colorado has 62,000 people working in the clean energy sector, according to a new report from Environmental Entrepreneurs, a national nonpartisan business group.

The “Clean Jobs Colorado” report, available here, said the jobs in 2015 were clustered in the counties along Colorado’s Front Range, including Denver, Arapahoe, Jefferson, Adams, Douglas, Boulder, Larimer, Weld, El Paso and Mesa counties.

A Vestas technician works on a nacelle.

A Vestas technician works on a nacelle. Kathleen Lavine | Denver Business Journal

The report relies on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. Department of Energy and a survey of hundreds of businesses in Colorado.

The analysis was done by BW Research Partners based in Carlsbad, California. E2 said the report is “the most comprehensive tally of clean energy jobs ever in Colorado.”

“Colorado has been a great place to launch and grow my energy efficiency business, in no small part due to the state’s leadership in clean energy policies,” said RJ Mastic, CEO of Ecosystems Group Inc., a Denver-based energy efficiency business, in a statement.

Mastic said his company is “hiring at a brisk pace — a new employee every other month.”

But he said to keep growing and attract more entrepreneurs, Colorado “needs to shore up its clean energy policies now.”

Among the findings of the report:

  • Clean energy employers expect to hire nearly 1,500 people in the next year, a 2 percent growth rate.
  • Energy efficiency is the state’s largest clean energy sector, with more than 40,000 people working in industries such as high-efficiency lighting, Energy Star appliance manufacturing and high-efficiency heating and cooling services for homes, schools and businesses.
  • More than 14,000 people work in the renewable energy sector, including nearly 7,000 people in the solar industry and another 6,500 in the wind sector.

E2 said the state should continue to support policies that drive the clean energy sector, such as the international climate agreement reached in Paris, the Clean Power Plan put forward by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and state and regional clean energy goals.

Lawsuits have been filed against the Clean Power Plan by a number of states, including Colorado.