Baker-Polito Administration Releases 2021 Massachusetts Clean Energy Industry Report

Erika McCarthy

BOSTON – The Baker-Polito Administration today released the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center’s (MassCEC) 2021 Massachusetts Clean Energy Industry Report, which highlights over 101,000 clean energy workers are employed in the Commonwealth as of December 2020, an increase of 68 percent since 2010. Additionally, in 2020, the clean energy industry contributed $13.7 billion to the Gross State Product (GSP), accounting for roughly 2.4 percent of the Commonwealth’s GSP. The industry’s contribution to GSP has increased by 50 percent since 2012, outpacing the 31 percent growth in the overall Massachusetts GSP during the same time. The report also found that Massachusetts ranks number one in the country for median clean energy wages, and found that 61 percent of clean energy establishments are small businesses with 10 employees or fewer. Energy efficiency, demand management, and clean heating and cooling make up the largest portion of Massachusetts clean energy jobs.

“With our continued investments and support, Massachusetts continues to be a national leader in driving the clean energy economy,” said Governor 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,” said Lieutenant Governor 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 statewide labor market, the report identified that most clean energy jobs were lost between March and May of 2020, with employers beginning to hire more in the second half of 2020. Early estimates for 2021 reflect that the industry continues to rebound, expanding by an estimated 3.9 percent. While the report found modest gains of 8 percent in wind energy jobs in 2020, the offshore wind industry is poised to see unprecedented growth in the next few years. In 2022, the first large-scale offshore wind project in the United States, Vineyard Wind, will begin construction off the South Coast of Massachusetts, with additional projects to follow.

“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,” said 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,” said 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.”

As the Covid-19 pandemic posed ongoing challenges to individuals, communities, and industries, Massachusetts set its sights on the future, enacting comprehensive climate legislation. An Act Creating a Next-Generation Roadmap for Massachusetts Climate Policy (the 2021 Climate Act) committed the state to achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, and a 50 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions over 1990 levels by 2030. Additionally, in October 2021, Governor 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. Specifically, the legislation would:

  • Fund grants, loans, equity investments, contracts and other forms of economic support for the advancement of clean energy technologies to commonwealth-based investors, entrepreneurs and institutions that are involved in the clean energy industry;
  • Support the formation, growth, expansion and retention of Massachusetts’ leading clean energy businesses, institutions, and projects;
  • Support public higher education institutions and vocational-technical education institutions as they create and enhance workforce development and technical training programs;
  • Provide assistance to regional employment boards and ensure that clean energy is a key strategy as part of their workforce development blueprints;
  • Put the Commonwealth in position to help secure significant future federal funding support;
  • Support research and development, including the interrelationship between clean energy infrastructure and existing natural habitats, ecosystems, and dependent species; and,
  • Support the long-term coexistence and sustainability of the fishing and clean energy industries.

“It’s encouraging to see the clean energy industry in Massachusetts is rebounding from the job losses that were experienced during the pandemic,” said House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading). “Massachusetts continues to lead the way in promoting good-paying jobs with a focus on implementing environmentally-friendly policies. The latest industry report is a testament to the resiliency of the Commonwealth’s clean energy program and the work that is being done to retain Massachusetts’ place as a national leader in this important economic sector.”

“This year’s report reminds us once again that accelerating the clean energy transition not only helps Massachusetts improve public health and mitigate climate disaster, but also is a direct investment into the Commonwealth’s workforce,” said State Representative Jeffrey R. Roy, House Chair of the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities, & Energy. “As we recover from the pandemic, the House will continue to take aggressive steps to ensure the Commonwealth reaps the economic benefits of the clean energy industry.”

“What this report really highlights is Massachusetts sits on the precipice of a climate economy boom. We have a strong and thriving clean energy workforce built over the past decade, which provides the foundation for significant growth as offshore wind, distributed solar power and energy efficiency become major industries in the 2020s,” said North East Clean Energy Council (NECEC) President Joe Curtatone. “We just need to invest in the workforce to make it happen. A diverse climate economy can help to reduce the worst effects of climate change while ensuring that economic prosperity is shared by all. Diversity, equity and inclusion must be at the forefront as we grow our clean energy companies and build this climate-saving ecosystem.”

“There’s no time to waste in the fight against climate change and we need all hands on deck,” said Greentown Labs CEO Dr. Emily Reichert. “I'm proud to see Massachusetts’ continued climate and clean energy leadership, and solid job growth despite the headwinds and challenges presented by the pandemic. What’s equally impressive and important is the Commonwealth’s efforts to foster job and career pathways for underrepresented and minority communities that historically didn’t have access to this industry—its critical we build the clean energy economy of tomorrow that is equitable and inclusive of everyone.”

With the passage of The Next Generation Climate Roadmap and the Baker-Polito Administration’s 2050 Decarbonization Roadmap Report (2050 Roadmap) and 2030 Clean Energy and Climate Plan (2030 CECP), Massachusetts is committed as never before to achieving net zero carbon emissions. Meeting this commitment will require a vibrant clean energy sector with a well-trained and diverse workforce. Developing and attracting the workforce of the future through outreach and training will continue to be of critical importance as Massachusetts and the country transitions to a cleaner more sustainable future.

About MassCEC

The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) is dedicated to growing the state’s clean energy economy while helping to meet the Commonwealth’s clean energy, climate, and economic development goals. Since its inception in 2009, MassCEC has helped clean energy companies grow, supported municipal clean energy projects, and invested in residential and commercial renewable energy installations, creating a robust marketplace for innovative clean technology companies and service providers. MassCEC constructed and operates the Wind Technology Testing Center and the New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal.  Massachusetts Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides chairs MassCEC’s Board of Directors.