Gov. Deval Patrick, D-Mass., has announced that the Massachusetts clean energy sector saw double-digit job growth for the third consecutive year and now employs more than 88,000 workers in the state.
The 2014 Massachusetts Clean Energy Industry Report shows that the state's clean energy sector has grown by nearly 50% since 2010 and now includes 88,372 employees and 5,985 businesses. From July 2013 to July 2014, clean energy jobs in Massachusetts grew by 10.5%.
"We have long believed that a strong commitment to investing in clean energy would not only provide significant environmental benefits, but would also serve as an economic catalyst in the commonwealth," says Patrick. "This sustained job growth proves our strategy is working and working well."
Although energy efficiency represents the largest segment of the state's clean energy workplace, with 65,000 workers, renewable energy accounts for nearly 21,000 jobs. More than 12,000 of the renewables jobs are related to Massachusetts's growing solar industry, followed by employment in other technology sectors, including nearly 2,000 jobs in hydroelectricity and 1,100 jobs in bioenergy.
Meanwhile, the wind power sector in Massachusetts is also growing, now totaling more than 3,000 jobs. The state currently has 103 MW of installed wind capacity, but with the emergence of offshore wind, the report says the sector appears promising for continued growth in the future.
Notably, a site off the coast of Massachusetts was one of two parcels that the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) leased last year in the U.S.' first-ever federal offshore wind auction. In June, the DOI announced plans to auction another lease for over 742,000 acres off the state's coast.
Furthermore, Cape Wind, developer of a 468 MW offshore wind farm in Nantucket Sound, recently signed a lease agreement to stage its project out of a Massachusetts terminal.
According to the report, the Massachusetts clean energy sector is now a $10 billion industry, responsible for 2.5% of the gross state product. The report adds that employers are optimistic about the future, predicting a 13.3% jump in clean energy employment over the next year, with clean energy jobs expected to surpass 100,000 in early 2015.
"The clean energy industry is no longer a niche sector of the Massachusetts economy," says Massachusetts Clean Energy Center CEO Alicia Barton. "It's a vibrant market with jobs spanning all aspects of the supply chain and across a wide breadth of technologies."
The Clean Energy States Alliance, a national coalition of state and municipal clean energy funds, has praised Massachusetts for its progress.
"With this report, Massachusetts demonstrates its leadership on both energy efficiency and renewable energy," says Warren Leon, executive director of the alliance. "The report offers solid evidence that clean energy technologies and deployment offer multiple benefits, and that state policy can be a key driver for the rapid growth of the clean energy industry."
Leon adds, "Other states should consider developing similar reports so that they, too, can track the job-related impacts of their clean energy programs."