Tennessee has emerged as the leader in the United States for the fastest-growing clean energy workforce, with notable job growth not solely attributed to electric vehicle (EV) manufacturing. According to a report by the nonpartisan group E2, the state added 5,000 clean energy jobs in 2022, representing a remarkable 6.5% growth from the previous year.
Key points from the report:
- Total Clean Energy Jobs: Tennessee concluded 2022 with a total of 82,000 clean energy jobs.
- Diverse Sectors: The clean energy job growth encompasses various sectors, with 50,000 jobs in energy efficiency, 16,000 in electric vehicles, 8,000 in storage and grid, 6,500 in renewable energy, and 1,200 in biofuels.
- Energy Efficiency Dominance: Energy efficiency stands out as the largest employer within the energy sector, with over 2 million jobs nationally. This sector involves the construction, manufacturing, and installation of energy-efficient appliances, lighting, building materials, and heat pumps.
- Potential for Growth: There is significant potential for job growth in energy efficiency, particularly in weatherizing homes and upgrading technology to reduce electricity consumption. Despite ongoing programs in cities like Nashville and Memphis, the scale of work remains far below the potential demand.
- Electric Vehicles Impact: While electric vehicles, hydrogen, and fuel cell vehicles contribute to the clean energy workforce, Tennessee’s growth is not solely due to EV manufacturing. Nationally, approximately 50,000 jobs in the clean energy sector came from clean vehicle makers.
- Inflation Reduction Act (IRA): The Inflation Reduction Act is expected to further boost job creation in clean energy. In Tennessee, over 5,600 jobs were promised for 14 new projects announced within the first year of the IRA.
- Job Announcements: The job announcements in Tennessee, following the passage of the IRA, accounted for over a third of all jobs announced through major investments in the state during that period.
The significant growth in Tennessee’s clean energy workforce underscores the diversified nature of the sector and its positive impact on the state’s economy. While EVs play a role, other areas like energy efficiency contribute significantly to the overall growth, highlighting the broader impact of clean energy initiatives.