The manufacturing-heavy state of Indiana is changing its image – it’s getting greener. The number of clean energy jobs in Indiana grew by 4.7 percent last year, the highest growth rate out of a dozen Midwestern states. At the end of 2018, the clean energy industry employed roughly 86,900 Hoosiers, and accounted for 2.5 percent of Indiana’s workforce.
These figures were released by the non-partisan group Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) as part of their 2019 Clean Jobs America report.
Where Are These Clean Energy Jobs?
The energy efficiency sector accounted for more than 63 percent of clean energy jobs throughout the state. This means more than 55,000 residents are performing energy audits, researching and developing more efficient HVAC systems, installing high-efficiency washers and dryers, and replacing old insulation in homes and commercial buildings.
Jobs in advanced transportation were the second-largest, employing more than 17,000 Indiana workers, and accounting for about 20 percent of clean energy jobs in the state. Of all midwestern states, the only one that experienced more growth in this transportation sector was Michigan. These employees are creating fuel cells, installing electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, manufacturing hybrid vehicles, developing more efficient battery systems and servicing public transportation systems.
In the renewable energy sector, wind and solar employ the greatest number of workers. Both markets experienced slight declines – wind jobs were down by 40 and solar down by 30 – but the losses were less than 1 percent, compared to the national decline of 4.5 percent.
Jobs in the advanced grid sector, which includes energy storage, microgrid and grid modernization work, did just the opposite, growing slightly at 1.5 percent over 2017. Energy storage led the way, employing more than 1,700 Indiana workers at the end of last year.
Indiana Conservatives Support Renewable Energy Development
In Indiana, it’s not just liberals who support clean energy initiatives. A poll conducted in the summer of 2019 by the Indiana Conservation Alliance for Energy (ICAE) indicates “strong support” from conservatives for renewable energy development across the state. These voters see the value in renewables because it’s “clean and cheap,” according to ICAE Executive Director Jared Noblitt. He added the following insight:
“Market forces are causing the cost of renewable energy options like utility-scale wind and solar to plummet, making them the least expensive energy source in most cases. As the next-level Indiana economy continues to boom, we can and should seize this exciting energy transition to leverage a competitive advantage over neighboring states, create jobs, and spark innovation and investment in Indiana.”
The ICAE poll also found that nearly six out of 10 conservatives in Indiana are more likely to support a candidate who favors increasing the use of renewable energy.
With strong support for clean energy across the state of Indiana, perhaps policymakers will listen to the public’s desire and work to incentivize energy efficiency, and promote research to support renewable innovation.
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