Here’s a myth that needs to be put to bed—we’re just starting the clean energy transition. In reality, clean energy arrived years ago and power sources like wind and solar are supplying affordable, reliable, clean electricity to millions of U.S. homes and businesses. Clean energy isn’t a niche product or novelty; it’s a major American industry that will be the primary way we power our lives within a decade.
It’s hard to overstate the ways clean energy is already positively impacting our country and the economy. Today over 300,000 Americans across all 50 states have direct clean energy jobs, and this isn’t token employment—these are good-paying careers that allow the clean power workforce to support their families and build prosperous communities. In fact, clean energy jobs pay wages 25 percent higher than the national median according to E2. By 2030, over 1 million Americans will work in clean energy, representing a generational job creation opportunity.
The proof of this transformation is all around us, and traditional stereotypes are falling by the wayside. If you think clean power is a blue state, coastal story, think again. Last week alone, three national news features telling the story of how Texas has been leading the transition showcase the scale and impact of the clean energy transformation. The CBS Evening News television segment at the top of this post examines the jobs wind and solar are creating and the economic benefits they bring to host communities.
Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reported on the phenomenon of oil and gas landman setting their sights on wind and solar as they look for more stable work.
“Landmen, after riding the highs of the boom, face weakened demand for fossil fuels and investor indifference to shale companies after years of poor returns. Instead of oil and gas fields, some landmen are securing wind and solar fields, spots where the sun shines brightest and the wind blows hardest,” the Journal noted.
It’s not just landmen who have made the switch. The International Business Times profiled cattle rancher Bobby Helmers, who once had oil derricks on his land and now hosts six wind turbines which supply half his ranch’s operating revenue.
“President Joe Biden’s call for a clean energy revolution has resonated in Texas,” the Times reported. “The state known for its fossil fuels has invested heavily since the early 2000s to become the nation’s top wind energy producer and second-biggest producer of solar energy.”
Real stories like these should be top on mind as President Biden addresses Congress this week and discusses his infrastructure proposal, the American Jobs Plan. Action on climate and infrastructure will mean a generational job creation opportunity, and the stories out of Texas this month are just a preview of what’s to come.