Report: Clean energy accounts for 57,000 jobs

DENVER — More than 57,000 Coloradans work in clean energy and are spread over every county in the state, according to a new analysis of energy jobs data by the national nonpartisan business group E2 (Environmental Entrepreneurs).

Boulder, Larimer and Weld counties account for 11,000 of those jobs — 4,940 in Boulder, 3,108 in Larimer and 2,958 in Weld.

Overall clean-energy jobs grew slightly to 57,591, up from 55,344, with energy efficiency leading the way with more than 32,000 jobs. Wind and solar energy combined for an additional 15,000 jobs, powering renewable energy in Colorado to rank seventh among all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

“Clean jobs count in Colorado,” Gov. John Hickenlooper said at a press conference Thursday. He was on hand for the release of the report at an event in Denver. “Forging a cleaner, more efficient energy system here in Colorado isn’t just about our environment; it’s about our economy. And it’s no longer just a vision, it’s a reality.”

In January, Hickenlooper announced a plan to increase the state’s electric-vehicle market by building a statewide electric-vehicle network. About 3,000 Coloradans currently work in clean-vehicle businesses — a number expected to increase with the expansion of EV charging and other services related to the clean-vehicles market.

The report is part of E2’s recently launched Clean Jobs Count campaign designed to raise awareness of the economic benefits of clean energy in the United States.

“The clean-energy sector is growing fast, creating new businesses, and is already one of the biggest job creators in the state,” said Susan Nedell, E2 Rocky Mountains advocate.  “With further investment and a legislature ready to embrace the opportunity, clean jobs could power Colorado’s economy into the next decade.”

Energy efficiency remains the largest clean-energy sector in Colorado with 32,036 workers. More than half of these jobs (16,348) were in the construction industry. Nationally, one out of every six construction jobs is in energy efficiency.

On the renewables side, more than 17,000 Coloradans worked in renewable energy in 2017, including nearly 8,000 in solar and more than 7,000 in wind. That placed Colorado fourth in wind jobs and 12th in solar jobs among all 50 states and D.C.

The jobs analysis expands on data from the 2018 U.S. Energy and Employment Report released in May by the National Association of State Energy Officials and Energy Futures Initiative.  E2 is a partner on the USEER, the third installment of the energy survey first released by the U.S. Department of Energy in 2016 but canceled last year by the Trump administration.