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Report: Indiana Lost Nearly 3 Percent Of Clean Energy Jobs Due To COVID-19

By Rebecca Thiele, IPB News | Published on in Business, Environment, Technology
Most of Indiana's clean energy jobs are in energy efficiency. In this photo, Construction workers install new energy-efficient windows and lighting in a naval center in California, 2010 (Greg Vojtko/U.S. Navy)
Most of Indiana's clean energy jobs are in energy efficiency. In this photo, construction workers install new energy-efficient windows and lighting in a naval center in California, 2010. (Greg Vojtko/U.S. Navy)

Last month, Indiana lost nearly 3 percent of its clean energy workforce — likely due to the pandemic. That’s according to the latest Clean Jobs America report.

Those jobs include everyone from solar panel installers to heating and air conditioning technicians to people who make electric vehicle engines.

More than a 100,000 clean energy workers in the U.S. applied for unemployment in March. Authors of the report say that largely wiped out employment growth made in 2019. Indiana ranked 12th highest in clean energy worker unemployment claims in the country.

Bob Keefe — executive director of the national group E-2, Environmental Entrepreneurs — says that number is only expected to grow because several states issued their “Stay-At-Home” orders later in March.

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“And if Congress and state lawmakers don’t do more to stop bleeding in this huge and economically important industry and BW estimates that 500,000 workers will lose their jobs in the next few months,” he says.

BW Research Partnership is the research firm that helped compile data for the Clean Jobs America report.

Among other things, authors of the report suggest federal and state governments extend the deadlines for clean energy incentives, upgrade electric transmission lines, build a national vehicle charging network, and make buildings currently closed more energy efficient.

“Right now, as we all know, there’s something like 98,000 schools across our country that are sitting vacant and they probably will be until September. Why can’t we get energy efficiency workers in those buildings?” Keefe asks.

Indiana Clean Energy Facts from 2019:

  • Indiana had the 6th highest number of clean energy jobs in rural areas
  • Fort Wayne ranked 11th for cities where clean energy jobs make up a large share of its total employment
  • Indianapolis was in the middle when it comes to overall clean energy employment. It ranked 26th.

Contact Rebecca at rthiele@iu.edu or follow her on Twitter at @beckythiele.

Indiana Environmental reporting is supported by the Environmental Resilience Institute, an Indiana University Grand Challenge project developing Indiana-specific projections and informed responses to problems of environmental change.