A survey of the clean energy workforce in Illinois found that 96,875 people currently work in the clean energy sector and that 62 percent of clean energy businesses in Illinois are primarily focused on energy efficiency, which includes lighting, heating and cooling controls, energy automation systems and smart grid technology.
The Clean Jobs Illinois survey defines clean energy jobs as those pertaining to energy efficiency, renewable energy, electric or hybrid vehicles and greenhouse gas management.
While the renewable energy sector of the clean energy industry contracted in 2013 in part due to policy challenges, all clean energy sub-sectors predict strong growth in the coming year. Forty percent of Illinois clean energy businesses surveyed also reported that they plan to hire more workers in 2014, at a pace that equates to a job growth rate of 9 percent.
Key finding of the study include:
- At projected growth rates, the Illinois clean energy industry will add its 100,000th worker in 2014.
- Companies working in renewable energy – including wind, solar and geothermal energy – made up 21 percent of the clean energy businesses in Illinois.
- Firms working on hybrid and electric vehicles are the fastest growing sector of Illinois’ clean energy economy. While these businesses currently make up only 5 percent of Illinois clean energy companies, the sub-sector expects to grow by 10.5 percent in 2014.
- The top job categories of clean energy jobs are engineering and research (21 percent), installation and maintenance (30 percent) and professional services (21 percent).
- Companies reported that they have difficulty hiring qualified engineers (software and mechanical), welders and installers.
The Clean Jobs Illinois survey was conducted by BW Research Partnership and commissioned and developed by Clean Energy Trust in partnership with Environmental Entrepreneurs, The Environmental Law & Policy Center and The Natural Resources Defense Council. The survey results are based on more than 27,000 phone calls and 9,000 emails sent to collect the survey data.