Massachusetts Clean Energy Industry Grows For Ninth Consecutive Year

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Kathryn Niforos

The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) today announced the state’s clean energy sector has continued its trend of upward growth, adding 1,069 workers to the clean energy workforce between 2018 and 2019. The figures, released as part of MassCEC’s 2019 Massachusetts Clean Energy Industry Report, found that the industry now employs over 111,836 workers in the Commonwealth, an increase of 86 percent since 2010.

“Massachusetts continues to lead the nation in building a dynamic clean energy industry, and we are pleased to see continued growth in jobs across the industry as well as in emerging markets like energy storage,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Ensuring a resilient, clean and affordable energy portfolio is critical to our administration’s efforts to mitigate the impacts of climate change while delivering cost savings and environmental benefits to cities and towns across the Commonwealth.”

“We have built a vibrant clean energy industry by cultivating an innovative business climate here in the Commonwealth while investing in the bright entrepreneurs pursuing solutions to our greatest energy challenges,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “As the clean energy industry grows, we continue to see the benefits of job creation, business development, and economic impact in cities and towns across the Commonwealth.”

The clean energy industry saw robust growth in its contribution to Massachusetts’ Gross State Product (GSP), increasing five percent over the last year to contribute nearly $14 billion to the statewide economy, accounting for roughly 2.5 percent of the GSP.

The report found that the clean energy industry employs residents in every region of Massachusetts and makes up about 3.1 percent of the Massachusetts workforce. The Southeast region saw the most job growth, with a 1.5 percent increase from 2018 to 2019, followed by the Northeast region, which recorded a 1.1 percent increase. The Northeast region, which includes Boston, makes up about 48 percent of total clean energy employment, with over 53,000 workers. Western Massachusetts saw a 3.2 percent increase in clean energy businesses and 0.6 percent increase in jobs, followed by Central Massachusetts which saw 3 percent growth in total clean energy businesses, and a 0.1 percent increase in jobs.

“By championing nation-leading clean energy policies, the Baker-Polito Administration has laid the foundation for a mature clean energy industry to continue to grow in Massachusetts,” said Energy and Environment Affairs (EEA) Secretary Kathleen Theoharides. “With our procurement of large-scale clean energy resources like offshore wind and hydropower, in addition to increased solar deployment through the SMART program, the outlook for clean energy in the Commonwealth is bright.”

“The clean energy industry has seen significant growth over the last decade, adding over 52,000 workers since 2010,” said MassCEC CEO Stephen Pike. “While Massachusetts has created a hub for cleantech innovation, the Commonwealth is positioned to capitalize on opportunities in emerging markets including clean transportation, building efficiency and offshore wind as we work to meet the challenges of climate change.”

Other findings show that energy efficiency, demand and management, and clean heating and cooling jobs make up the largest portion of clean energy employment, representing 81,293 jobs, followed closely by renewable energy with 27,510 jobs. The fastest growing sector of the clean energy workforce was alternative transportation, with 15 percent growth.

This report reflects the Baker-Polito Administration’s ongoing efforts to grow the Commonwealth’s clean energy economy and meet its greenhouse gas emission reduction targets. In 2016, Governor Baker signed into law bipartisan comprehensive energy diversification legislation requiring utilities to competitively solicit and contract for approximately 1,600MW of offshore wind and approximately 1,200MW of clean energy. Under an environmental bond bill signed by Governor Baker in 2018, DOER was directed to create a new clean peak standard for electricity suppliers to increase the usage of clean energy during periods of high, carbon intensive, and expensive electricity demand. The administration’s solar incentive program, Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART), is supporting at least an additional 1,600 MW of solar in Massachusetts, nearly doubling the amount previously installed at half the estimated pricing of prior programs.

As emissions from the transportation sector account for over 40 percent of total emissions, the Baker-Polito Administration is focused on investing in clean transportation solutions. The Commonwealth is currently working with 10 other states across the Northeast and the District of Columbia to develop a market-based ‘cap-and-invest’ program to reduce the emissions that cause climate change, while creating economic opportunity and investing in clean transportation options. Last week, the administration announced a reopening of the Commonwealth’s electric vehicle rebate program, Massachusetts Offers Rebates for Electric Vehicles (MOR-EV) beginning on January 1, 2020 and lasting through at least December 31, 2021, and an investment of at least $27 million per year in 2020 and 2021 to electric vehicle incentive programs including MOR-EV.

“It is exciting to see that our already robust clean energy industry is becoming even stronger,” said Senate President Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland). “I am particularly pleased to see the economic and employment benefits of combatting climate change stretch to every corner of our Commonwealth. To that end, I look forward to seeing this industry expand even more as we embark on new solutions to reduce harmful emissions through the use of renewable resources and technology.”

“Massachusetts nation-leading environmental and energy policies have propelled continued growth of the clean energy industry over the past decade creating more and more jobs across the Commonwealth,” said House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo (D-Winthrop). “Not only have we created business opportunity, but we have cultivated innovation and cut our greenhouse gas emissions as a result of our forward-looking laws. I’m proud of the House’s ongoing support for these issues.”

“Massachusetts continues to generate growth in clean energy because we use a comprehensive combination of investments, regulations, incentives, and collaboration to build from a solid foundation,” said Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R- Gloucester). “Collectively, these efforts have propelled us into leading the nation in reducing energy consumption while simultaneously helping us create economic opportunities for citizens and advances for our environment.”

“It’s encouraging to see the continued job growth taking place within the Commonwealth’s clean energy sector,” said House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading). “Under the Baker-Polito Administration, Massachusetts continues to be a national leader in pursuing innovative clean energy policies that are designed to enhance consumer options while also providing many important environmental benefits.”

“Global warming is breathing down our necks,” said Senator Mike Barrett (D-Lexington), State Senate Chair of the Legislature’s Committee on Energy. "We need to push back harder in this new decade than we did in the last. Which means we need a stronger CEC, to make sure the R&D and the cutting-edge innovation gets done.”

"The continued success of the clean energy sector in Massachusetts as detailed in MassCEC's latest report shows how committed Speaker Deleo and the Baker-Polito Administration are to building a thriving green economy in the Bay State," said State Representative Thomas A. Golden, Jr. (D-Lowell), Chairman of the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy. "The House continues to pursue further opportunities for growth this session, including the House's unanimous passage of the $1.3 billion GreenWorks bill, and looks forward to working with the Administration and others to spread the benefits of a clean energy future to every corner of the Commonwealth."