America is on the cusp of transforming its power grid to a low-cost, clean power system and our nation’s veterans stand to benefit through good-paying American jobs that our thriving industry is set to create during the next decade.
With national goals that include reducing America’s greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030, decarbonizing the power grid by 2035, and generating 30 gigawatts of power from offshore wind by 2030, clean power is expected to continue its record growth in the years ahead.
Continued industry momentum combined with supportive policies and regulations could deliver over 1 million clean energy jobs by 2030 across the country, according to ACP’s 2021 Clean Energy Labor Supply Report. This growth will expand the footprint and the benefits of clean power that are already felt through good-paying jobs in all 50 states.
American workers, and our nation’s veterans looking to transition from active duty into civilian life, would benefit greatly from the increased investment and deployment of solar, wind, and energy storage across America. These jobs in clean energy will be accessible, offering opportunities in fields like construction, manufacturing, operations, and maintenance.
The American clean power industry stands ready to grow its 415,000-person workforce and lead the way as our country continues to shift toward clean, affordable electricity to power businesses, American homes, and communities. However, one of the biggest challenges to meeting our nation’s clean energy and emissions goals will be getting enough people trained and added to the clean power workforce as quickly as possible.
American’s veterans can play a key role in filling these clean power job needs as they look to transition into civilian life following time in active duty. The clean energy industry is proud to employ so many our nation’s veterans. Currently, an estimated 33,959 U.S. veterans work in wind, solar, storage and transmission in America. The men and women that have served honorably in our military find jobs in clean power at a rate 34 percent higher than the average U.S. industry. And in wind energy in particular, veterans?find jobs at a rate 67 percent higher than the average U.S. industry.??
It’s no secret why veterans are drawn to these positions, and why clean energy companies want to hire them. The skills our men and women in uniform learn while serving in the military are directly transferable to careers in renewable energy: teamwork, technical knowledge, dedication, accountability, leadership, commitment to service, among many other traits. The men and women who served our country have brought these qualities to clean energy jobs across the country, and they’re a huge reason why U.S. clean energy has grown so successfully in recent years. Our nation’s veterans?are trained and familiar with working on or with machinery, heavy equipment, and dealing with heights and the outdoors, all of which makes them great candidates for work in clean energy.?
With clean power set to grow exponentially in the years ahead, the opportunities for our nation’s veterans to find good-paying jobs in renewable energy when they leave active duty are abundant. In fact, two of the top five fastest growing occupations the country are found within our industry. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, wind turbine technician is the nation’s No. 2 fastest growing occupation and solar installer is the nation’s No. 5 fastest-growing occupation. Many of these jobs are concentrated in rural areas, which brings numerous opportunities for veterans to find jobs in their home state.
The U.S. clean energy industry is honored to offer rewarding careers to our veterans as they transition to civilian life. Careers in wind, solar, energy storage, and transmission infrastructure offer stable, well-paying jobs that let our employees provide for their families and establish roots in a community. Clean energy workers make 30% more than the national median wage, ensuring that they have access to good paying jobs that support them and their families.
As a U.S. Navy veteran, I understand how important home-grown sources of clean power are to our nation’s security and prosperity. A modern grid that strengthens the clean energy ties that bind Americans together will make us more resilient and stronger as a nation. From the heartland, where I report for duty everyday as the American Clean Power Association State Affairs Central Region Director on behalf our member companies, to every corner of the United States, veterans like me are serving in clean energy careers. I’m proud to stand with my fellow veterans who’ve chosen clean power as a great fit for the skills we’ve learned in the military.
On Veterans Day, ACP thanks all our nation’s veterans, including our clean energy workforce veterans, for their service. Veterans looking for jobs in clean power can browse ACP’s Careers in Clean Energy jobs board to learn more about the types of jobs that are available?right now.
Jeff DanielsonCentral Region Directorjdanielson@cleanpower.org