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    State’s Clean Energy Industry Remained Most Resilient During Pandemic


    January 28, 2022 - The Newtown Bee

     

      HARTFORD — Connecticut’s clean energy industry has remained resilient and is positioned for future growth, despite the continued impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the recently released 2021 Connecticut Clean Energy Industry Report.

      This report highlights that Connecticut’s clean energy economy was more resilient than other states in the region and the nation overall. Total clean energy employment in Connecticut declined by only six percent in 2020 to 41,488 jobs; compared to a nationwide energy employment decrease of nine percent and neighboring state declines ranging from seven to 16%.

      “The pandemic required the energy efficiency industry to reimagine how to conduct business safely in Connecticut,” said Governor Ned Lamont. “I am proud of the quick and meaningful actions taken by DEEP, DECD, the Connecticut Green Bank, the Energy Efficiency Board, our clean energy contractors, and our utility program administrators, in close collaboration, placing Connecticut at the top of the pack regionally and nationally in preserving our critical clean energy workforce.

      “At a time when good paying jobs in a growth industry and continued efforts to combat the climate crisis are essential, this report demonstrates the resilience of our clean energy industry, supported by state initiatives such as EnergizeCT and CareerConneCT, and the potential to leverage federal ARPA and Bipartisan Infrastructure Act funding for further growth,” the governor added.

      With the majority of COVID-19 related job losses incurred in March through May 2020, the industry in Connecticut had steady, modest growth from June through December. Clean energy contributions to statewide Gross Regional Product (GRP) increased by two percent between 2019 and 2020, an overall increase of 14% since 2017. These GRP contributions totaled nearly $6.64 billion, almost three percent of the state’s GRP.

      This is the second industry study produced by the Connecticut Green Bank, Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, Eversource, and United Illuminating, Southern Connecticut Gas and Connecticut Natural Gas, subsidiaries of AVANGRID Inc, operating through the Joint Committee of the Energy Efficiency Board (EEB) and the Connecticut Green Bank Board of Directors.

      “Reducing the negative impact of the pandemic on our clean energy industry required significant collaboration between government, industry and key stakeholders,” said Neil Beup, EEB chair. “Through these conversations and efforts, Connecticut was able to preserve much of the progress made by the clean energy sector over the last decade while maintaining a positive outlook for the future.”

      Based on analysis from BW Research, employment in this report is broken out into five major technology sectors and clean energy-specific sub-technologies. The major clean energy sectors are: energy efficiency; clean energy generation; alternative transportation; clean grid and storage; and clean fuels.

      Some other highlights include:

      *Throughout 2020, clean energy employment losses in Connecticut were lower compared to the overall statewide economy, the national clean energy labor market, and other clean energy economies in the Northeast, such as Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

      *The number of firms conducting alternative transportation and clean grid and storage work increased between 2019 and 2020.

      *Alternative transportation firms grew in 2020 by nearly seven percent, led by job growth in the hybrid electric and electric vehicle sub-sectors.

      *Finding qualified workers continued to be an obstacle for firms in 2020, with fewer firms hiring, and more firms indicating difficulty hiring.

      *The clean energy workforce became more diverse in 2020, as the proportion of Hispanic/Latinx and Black/African American workers grew.

      “This report delivers the good news that Connecticut is providing Clean Energy companies with the encouragement they need to remain robust and resilient through tough times,” said Lonnie Reed, Chair of the Connecticut Green Bank. “Despite the downturn triggered by the pandemic, Connecticut’s clean energy industry is suffering fewer job loses than the national average and their business leadership is staying positive and innovative.

      “Continued support from state leaders, combined with new policies and programs launching in 2022 will help grow the industry, reduce the energy burden on vulnerable communities, and strengthen our ability to confront climate change,” Reed said.

      The report also highlighted the ongoing need for more workers in the industry.

      “While many firms were not hiring, those that were faced difficulty filling open positions,” said Brenda Watson, Chair of the Joint Committee of the Energy Efficiency Board and the Connecticut Green Bank and Executive Director of Operation Fuel. “The clean energy industry is helping our families and businesses reduce energy costs while creating well-paying jobs. We must work with many community-based organizations, to not only widen the jobs funnel, but develop a clear pathway for Hispanic, Black and women workers to increase their presence in the industry.”

      To access the full report, visit www.ctgreenbank.com/2021-CT-Clean-Energy-Industry-Report.

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