Latest Massachusetts Energy Report Highlights State’s High Clean Energy Wages

Massachusetts Clean Energy Center’s (MassCEC) 2021 Massachusetts Clean Energy Industry Report highlights that over 101,000 clean energy workers are employed in the Commonwealth as of December 2020, an increase of 68% since 2010. Additionally, in 2020, the clean energy industry contributed $13.7 billion to the Gross State Product (GSP), accounting for roughly 2.4% of the Commonwealth’s GSP.

The industry’s contribution to GSP has increased by 50% since 2012, outpacing the 31% growth in the overall Massachusetts GSP during the same time. The report found that Massachusetts ranks first in the nation for median clean-energy wages. It also found that 61% are small businesses with fewer than 10 employees. The largest share of Massachusetts’ clean energy jobs are in energy efficiency, demand management, clean heating and cooling, and energy efficiency.

“With our continued investments and support, Massachusetts continues to be a national leader in driving the clean energy economy,” says Gov. Charlie Baker. “The Commonwealth is committed to being net zero as a state by 2050, and the strength of the clean energy industry in Massachusetts will ensure we meet these goals cost effectively while delivering economic benefits to all of Massachusetts.”

“Through our continued investments in education, innovation, and entrepreneurship, Massachusetts has built a vibrant clean energy industry,” comments Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito. “Our administration is committed to supporting this industry and ensuring that it continues to contribute jobs, business development and economic opportunities in cities and towns across the Commonwealth.”

Primarily due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the report also found the state’s clean energy sector experienced a decrease in clean energy jobs of approximately 12,800 jobs through December 2020 for the first time since 2010. Similar to the state’s labor market, the report found that most clean-energy jobs were lost between March 2020 and May 2020. Employers began to hire more in 2020’s second half. Early estimates for 2021 indicate that the industry is still recovering and growing by 3.9%. Although the report only found modest gains in wind energy jobs in 2020 of 8%, the industry is expected to experience unprecedented growth over the next few decades. Vineyard Wind, the first large scale offshore wind project in America, will be constructed off the South Coast Massachusetts in 2022. There will be additional projects.

“The Baker-Polito Administration has a long-standing commitment to invest in the clean energy sector while implementing policies that will protect our planet and create the green workforce of the future,” states Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides. “Led by first in the nation offshore wind projects, the Commonwealth is poised to generate gigawatts of clean affordable electricity and thousands of good paying jobs.”

“There is no question that 2020 was a difficult year that impacted many industries, including clean energy,” mentions MassCEC CEO Jennifer Daloisio. “However, the clean energy industry in Massachusetts is resilient, largely due to the investments the Baker-Polito Administration continues to make in order to effectively transition our state to a brighter future that spurs economic growth, promotes equity, and creates opportunities for all residents of the Commonwealth.”

Massachusetts enacted comprehensive climate legislation as a response to the Covid-19 pandemic that posed continuing challenges to people, communities, and industries. An Act Creating A Next-Generation Roadmap For Massachusetts Climate Policy (the 2021 Climate Act), set the state’s goal to achieve net-zero greenhouse emissions by 2050 and a half-million greenhouse gas reductions by 2030.

“This is an encouraging first step for much-needed climate legislation in Massachusetts, and we’re glad to see the Senate include key provisions for solar deployment in the bill,” says David Gahl, senior director of state affairs for the Northeast for the Solar Energy Industries Association. “In addition to expanded exemptions to the state’s solar net metering cap, the bill requires the Department of Energy Resources to recommend the design of a successor to the current SMART program with compensation based on the immense value that solar brings to the electric grid.

In October 2021 Gov. Baker filed legislation, An Act to Power Massachusetts’ Clean Energy Economy, which would direct $750 million in a new Clean Energy Investment Fund at MassCEC to scale its efforts in supporting clean energy innovation and job training, significantly expanding Massachusetts’s national leadership on clean energy and climate. The legislation would specifically fund grants, loans and equity investments for the advancement and promotion of clean energy technologies to commonwealth-based entrepreneurs, investors, and institutions involved in the clean fuel industry.

It supports the formation, growth, expansion and retention of Massachusetts’ leading clean energy businesses, institutions, and projects. The act also supports public higher educational institutions and vocational-technical institutions in creating and improving workforce development and technical education programs. It will support research, development, and the interrelationship between clean energie infrastructure and existing natural habitats, ecosystems, and dependent species.