Connecticut’s Clean Energy Industry More Resilient During Pandemic Than That of Other States in Region, Nation

Industry is well-positioned for growth, according to state’s second Clean Energy Industry Report from the Joint Committee of the Energy Efficiency Board and the Connecticut Green Bank Board of Directors

Hartford, CT (Jan. 24, 2022) – Connecticut’s clean energy industry has remained resilient and is positioned for future growth, despite the continued impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the recently released 2021 Connecticut Clean Energy Industry Report. This report highlights that Connecticut’s clean energy economy was more resilient than other states in the region and the nation overall. Total clean energy employment in Connecticut declined by only six percent in 2020 to 41,488 jobs; compared to a nationwide energy employment decrease of nine percent and neighboring state declines ranging from seven to 16 percent.

A webinar presenting the report’s findings to press, industry partners, and other stakeholders will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 2, from 12 to 1 pm. To register for the webinar, visit https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/1737419007598298123.

“The pandemic required the energy efficiency industry to reimagine how to conduct business safely in Connecticut. I am proud of the quick and meaningful actions taken by DEEP, DECD, the Connecticut Green Bank, the Energy Efficiency Board, our clean energy contractors, and our utility program administrators, in close collaboration, placing Connecticut at the top of the pack regionally and nationally in preserving our critical clean energy workforce,” said Governor Ned Lamont.

“At a time when good paying jobs in a growth industry and continued efforts to combat the climate crisis are essential, this report demonstrates the resilience of our clean energy industry, supported by state initiatives such as EnergizeCT and CareerConneCT, and the potential to leverage federal ARPA and Bipartisan Infrastructure Act funding for further growth.”

With the majority of COVID-19 related job losses incurred in March through May 2020, the industry in Connecticut had steady, modest growth from June through December. Clean energy contributions to statewide Gross Regional Product (GRP) increased by two percent between 2019 and 2020, an overall increase of 14 percent since 2017. These GRP contributions totaled nearly $6.64 billion, almost three percent of the state’s GRP.

This is the second industry study produced by the Connecticut Green Bank, Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, Eversource, and United Illuminating, Southern Connecticut Gas and Connecticut Natural Gas, subsidiaries of AVANGRID Inc., operating through the Joint Committee of the Energy Efficiency Board (EEB) and the Connecticut Green Bank Board of Directors.

“Reducing the negative impact of the pandemic on our clean energy industry required significant collaboration between government, industry and key stakeholders,” said Neil Beup, EEB chair. “Through these conversations and efforts, Connecticut was able to preserve much of the progress made by the clean energy sector over the last decade while maintaining a positive outlook for the future.”

Based on analysis from BW Research, employment in this report is broken out into five major technology sectors and clean energy-specific sub-technologies. The major clean energy sectors are: energy efficiency; clean energy generation; alternative transportation; clean grid and storage; and clean fuels.

Some other highlights include:

  • Throughout 2020, clean energy employment losses in Connecticut were lower compared to the overall statewide economy, the national clean energy labor market, and other clean energy economies in the Northeast, like Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
  • The number of firms conducting alternative transportation and clean grid and storage work increased between 2019 and 2020.
  • Alternative transportation firms grew in 2020 by nearly seven percent, led by job growth in the hybrid electric and electric vehicle sub-sectors.
  • Finding qualified workers continued to be an obstacle for firms in 2020, with fewer firms hiring, and more firms indicating difficulty hiring.
  • The clean energy workforce became more diverse in 2020, as the proportion of Hispanic/Latinx and Black/African American workers grew.

“This report delivers the good news that Connecticut is providing Clean Energy companies with the encouragement they need to remain robust and resilient through tough times. Despite the downturn triggered by the pandemic, Connecticut’s clean energy industry is suffering fewer job loses than the national average and their business leadership is staying positive and innovative,” said Lonnie Reed, Chair of the Connecticut Green Bank. “Continued support from state leaders combined with new policies and programs launching in 2022 will help grow the industry, reduce the energy burden on vulnerable communities and strengthen our ability to confront climate change.” 

The report also highlighted the ongoing need for more workers in the industry.

“While many firms were not hiring, those that were faced difficulty filling open positions,” said Brenda Watson, Chair of the Joint Committee of the Energy Efficiency Board and the Connecticut Green Bank and Executive Director of Operation Fuel. “The clean energy industry is helping our families and businesses reduce energy costs while creating well-paying jobs. We must work with many community-based organizations, to not only widen the jobs funnel, but develop a clear pathway for Hispanic, Black and women workers to increase their presence in the industry.”

To access the full report, please www.ctgreenbank.com/2021-CT-Clean-Energy-Industry-Report. To register for the webinar presenting the report’s findings on Wednesday, Feb. 2, from 12 to 1 pm, visit https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/1737419007598298123.

 

About Energize CT and the Joint Committee:

Energize CT is an initiative of the Energy Efficiency Fund, the Connecticut Green Bank, the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), United Illuminating, Southern Connecticut Gas and Connecticut Natural Gas, subsidiaries of AVANGRID Inc., and Eversource, with funding from a charge on customer energy bills. Learn more at www.energizect.com.

Joint Committee

Pursuant to Section 16-245m(d)(2) of the Connecticut General Statutes, the Joint Committee shall examine opportunities to coordinate programs and activities contained in the plan developed under Section 16-245n(c) (i.e., Comprehensive Plan of the Green Bank) with the programs and activities contained in the plan developed under Section 16-245m(d)(1) (i.e., Conservation and Load Management Plan), and to provide financing to increase the benefits of programs funded by the plan developed under Section 16-245m(d)(1) so as to reduce the long-term cost, environmental impacts, and security risks of energy in the state.

To support the Joint Committee, the following is a principal statement to guide its activities: The Energy Efficiency Board and the Connecticut Green Bank have a shared goal to implement state energy policy throughout all sectors and populations of Connecticut with continuous innovation towards greater leveraging of ratepayer funds and a uniformly positive customer experience.

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Connecticut’s First Clean Energy Industry Report Released

Joint Committee of the Energy Efficiency Board and the Connecticut Green Bank Board of Directors evaluates Connecticut’s Clean Energy jobs; pre-pandemic workforce saw an increase of 9.1% from 2015

Rocky Hill, CT (Nov. 10, 2020) – According to a recently released 2020 Connecticut Clean Energy Industry Report, more than 44,000 people, an increase of 9.1% from 2015, made up the clean energy workforce in Connecticut in 2019. In total, clean energy jobs accounted for 2.6% of all jobs and a gross state product of $6.5 billion in Connecticut in 2019.

This is the first joint job study produced by the Connecticut Green Bank, Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, Eversource, and United Illuminating, Southern Connecticut Gas and Connecticut Natural Gas, subsidiaries of AVANGRID Inc., operating through the Joint Committee of the Energy Efficiency Board (EEB) and the Connecticut Green Bank Board of Directors.

“A robust clean energy workforce is essential to delivering the benefits of energy efficiency programs to ratepayers. In these uncertain economic times, establishing a baseline estimate of these jobs is critical for maintaining and growing a green employment base in Connecticut,” said Neil W. Beup, Energy Efficiency Board Chair.

Based on analysis from BW Research, employment in this report is broken out into five major technology sectors and clean energy-specific sub-technologies. The major clean energy sectors are: energy efficiency; clean energy generation; alternative transportation; clean grid and storage; and clean fuels.

In addition to jobs data, the report details clean energy employment by value chain segment, clean energy wages and wage premiums, employer hiring difficulties, geographic opportunity zones, and the demographic distribution of clean energy workers compared to state- and nationwide averages.

Some highlights include:

  • Since 2015, full-time equivalent clean energy jobs in Connecticut have grown by 13.9%, indicating that employees are spending more of their time on clean energy work in the state.
  • Energy efficiency workers represent eight out of 10 clean energy jobs. This sector has also seen the greatest growth since 2017, creating 1,257 new jobs— a growth rate of 3.6%.
  • Clean energy generation is the second largest sector. Businesses in this sector employ 4,830 workers and experienced a growth rate of 6.2% from 2017 to 2019. The majority of these workers are in the solar or nuclear sectors.
  • The majority of the surveyed clean energy jobs pay more than their corresponding occupational average, especially for entry-level workers. In total, just over three-quarters (76.9%) of clean energy jobs in Connecticut earn more than the corresponding occupational average across all levels of experience. For entry-level workers in particular, 92% of surveyed occupations are paid a premium.
  • Hiring difficulty in the clean energy industry in Connecticut was lower than the national clean energy industry average. The biggest challenges cited by employers were potential workers lacking experience, training or technical skills, and a small applicant pool for open positions.
  • Connecticut has a higher-than-average concentration of Veterans in the clean energy industry compared to the statewide workforce overall and the national clean energy industry average. Women and Hispanic or Latinx and Black or African American individuals are underrepresented compared to overall averages.

“While it’s good to see hiring challenges faced by clean energy employers are lower than those experienced nation-wide, there is still plenty of opportunity for job growth in the sector in Connecticut,” said Lonnie Reed, Chair of the Connecticut Green Bank’s Board of Directors. “As we continue to strive to bring energy efficiency and renewables to all of society, we will need to create job opportunities across all demographics.”

The report also briefly explores the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 as the shutdown caused more than 6,500 industry job losses in March, April and May. The energy efficiency sector suffered the most with nearly 85% of these lost jobs in that sector. Overall, the pandemic derailed projected industry growth for the year, which had been estimated to surpass 46,000 clean energy jobs by the end of 2020; the current projection is now 40,668 jobs by year end, less than total number of clean energy jobs at the end of 2016. A separate survey of clean energy contractors painted a stark picture of the impact and recovery, which most responded would take between 6-12 months after “stay at home” orders were lifted.

“While COVID-19 has impacted our progress, it has not weakened our resolve,” said Eric Brown, Chair of the Joint Committee of the Energy Efficiency Board and the CT Green Bank. “Through the Energize CT initiative, we are committed to building a vibrant, resilient, and growing clean energy industry for Connecticut that can withstand future pandemics, budget pressures or other unforeseen challenges.”

In collaboration with the Connecticut Department of Labor and their Office of Workforce Competitiveness, a set of career profiles in clean energy were created that identify the requisite level of education, salary range, health care and retirement benefits, and more for ten specific clean energy technology jobs.  To see these profiles, please visit CT DOL’s Connecticut Green Occupations website.

To access the full report, please click here. A webinar presenting the report’s findings was held on Wednesday, Nov. 18; a recording of that webinar can be found here and the slides can be accessed here

About Energize CT and the Joint Committee:

Energize CT is an initiative of the Energy Efficiency Fund, the Connecticut Green Bank, the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), United Illuminating, Southern Connecticut Gas and Connecticut Natural Gas, subsidiaries of AVANGRID Inc., and Eversource, with funding from a charge on customer energy bills. Learn more at www.EnergizeCT.com

Joint Committee

Pursuant to Section 16-245m(d)(2) of the Connecticut General Statutes, the Joint Committee shall examine opportunities to coordinate programs and activities contained in the plan developed under Section 16-245n(c) (i.e., Comprehensive Plan of the Green Bank) with the programs and activities contained in the plan developed under Section 16-245m(d)(1) (i.e., Conservation and Load Management Plan), and to provide financing to increase the benefits of programs funded by the plan developed under Section 16-245m(d)(1) so as to reduce the long-term cost, environmental impacts, and security risks of energy in the state.

To support the Joint Committee, the following is a principal statement to guide its activities: The Energy Efficiency Board and the Connecticut Green Bank have a shared goal to implement state energy policy throughout all sectors and populations of Connecticut with continuous innovation towards greater leveraging of ratepayer funds and a uniformly positive customer experience.