Half a million renewable energy jobs to be lost in US from COVID-19

More than 500,000 renewable energy workers in the US will lose their jobs due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, according to the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE).

After conducting research with US advocacy initiative Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) and other groups, ACORE warned that up to 15% of the entire clean energy workforce will lose their jobs this year, unless Congress and the Trump administration take ‘quick and substantive’ action.

Already over 106,000 renewable energy workers lost their jobs in March due to the spread of the coronavirus across the US, based on ACORE’s and E2’s analysis of Department of Labor data.

Analysis of clean energy occupations who filed for unemployment benefits revealed that California was the hardest hit state, with nearly 20,000 unemployment claims. North Carolina and Pennsylvania also saw a high number of claims with 6,800 and just over 6,000 respectively.

ACORE president and chief executive Gregory Wetstone said: “This analysis quantifies in stark terms the damage COVID-19 is already doing to the renewable energy workforce, and the devastating trajectory we’re facing absent help from Congress.

“To stem job losses, we ask Congress to extend the time-sensitive deadlines faced by renewable projects seeking to qualify for critical tax incentives, and to provide temporary refundability for renewable tax credits that are increasingly difficult to monetise.”

Renewable energy has been one of the US economy’s biggest and fastest-growing employment sectors over the past decade, growing 10.4% since 2015, ACORE added.