As America navigates a new economic and political landscape following COVID-19, supporting clean energy businesses, renewable projects and the millions of Americans employed by traditional energy and energy efficient sectors will be the hallmark of any recovery effort.Why? Because a strong energy sector builds a strong economy.
The growth of domestic energy sources has led to new industries that employ American workers with steady, well-paying jobs and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. According to a recent E2 analysis, prior to COVID-19 pandemic nearly 3.4 million Americans worked in clean energy in 2020 — an increase for the fifth consecutive year since the group’s annual report was first released.
That surge in jobs is no surprise given that solar and wind — two of the fastest-growing industries in the U.S. — were rapidly creating jobs at a rate that was 12 times faster than the rest of the economy, and in nearly every single state. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics ranked solar installers and wind turbine technicians respectively the number one and number two fastest-growing occupations in the U.S. through 2028.
Legislators on the local, state and federal level can build on the known success of the clean energy industry and help spur new jobs through deregulation, cutting taxes and incentivizing growth.
Clean energy powers everything from homes and businesses to schools and stadiums, and it’s expected to continue growing. According to a recent news report, renewable energy sources are expected to account for nearly 21 percent of the electricity the United States uses for the first time this year, up from 10 percent nearly a decade ago.
To ensure we maintain America’s competitive advantage it is critical that we have an all-of-the-above approach to energy that incorporates the full range of natural resources like natural gas, nuclear, solar, wind and carbon capture sequestration. Utilization of these domestic sources of energy allows our nation to depend less on foreign oil, reduce emissions and mitigate the impact of climate change.
America is a world leader in innovation and the clean energy economy is the next frontier. By supporting clean energy technologies and cutting-edge research lawmakers can help the U.S. maintain its competitive edge on the world stage.
Key to this effort is ensuring small businesses can enter the clean energy space, help our economy grow, and reposition the U.S. as an exporter of emerging technologies. Enabling new companies to enter the energy market is a win for both consumers and producers and promotes a greater diversity of energy choice.
Clean energy is the future and U.S. infrastructure should reflect this reality. Making investments to overhaul our aging energy infrastructure and secure our electric grid from attacks will help strengthen our national security and grow the economy. Upgrading America’s infrastructure will also allow us to improve on energy efficiency, add energy generation to existing assets like dams and water systems and increase the reliability of our energy system.
The challenges associated with climate change impact all four corners of the country and pose unique challenges to our national security, federal deficit and agriculture sector.
For too long the public has viewed climate change as an issue owned by the Democratic party — but that’s no longer the case. From Utah to Florida, and Maryland to Massachusetts, Republicans across all levels of state and federal government are taking their case directly to constituents and offering solutions that will curb climate change and maintain a healthy environment for current and future generations.
While the Democratic party chooses to focus on costly, job-killing government mandates like tax hikes to stop climate change, Republicans have paved a better path; one that’s driven by clean energy, the power of the free market and an all-of-the-above approach.