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New Energy Jobs Report Details 2019 Gains, COVID-19 Related Losses

By Media Office Staff

California ended 2019 with nearly 1 million energy jobs, including more than 530,000 clean energy jobs, according to the 2020 California Energy and Employment Report.

Commissioned by the California Energy Commission (CEC) and California Public Utilities Commission in partnership with the National Association of State Energy Officials, the report includes survey data from nearly 5,000 businesses and details energy employment in five major technology sectors including:

• Electric power generation

• Transmission, distribution and storage

• Fuels

• Energy efficiency

• Motor vehicles

Sarah Lehmann from BW Research presented the report findings during the CEC’s July 2020 business meeting. While businesses reported optimistic outlooks at the time of the survey, projecting 2-8 percent employment growth in 2020, researchers reported the sector has experienced an 18 percent decline because of the public health response to COVID-19, including nearly 180,000 jobs lost as of May. This contraction is consistent with trends in other states.

However according to preliminary numbers from June, the sector experienced a slight increase compared to May and may be trending in a positive direction.

“The report’s findings on 2019 clean energy jobs numbers are remarkable and represent a significant part of our economy,” said Commissioner J. Andrew McAllister. “With the right suite of project-oriented incentives and training programs, we can bring these jobs back as part of a robust economic recovery solution, creating well-paying employment opportunities for the Californians who need them most.”

In addition to energy employment numbers, the report also details workforce challenges, wages and demographics. Commissioner Patty Monahan pointed out the energy sector’s gender gap, with only 26 percent of the jobs filled by females.

“Although we’re seeing positive trends in this area, we need to continue to nurture the diversification of the clean energy movement and ensure we fill gaps in communities where workforce development opportunities aren’t available,” said Commissioner Monahan.

“We have to focus on diverse workforce – it’s a major priority,” agreed Commissioner McAllister. “Everyone needs to be part of the clean energy future.”

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