8.9 Percent Employment Growth Since 2016 – More Than Double the Growth of State’s Overall Economy

September 24, 2019

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) today announced that New York’s rapidly growing clean energy economy employed nearly 159,000 workers in 2018, according to the state’s 2019 Clean Energy Industry Report [PDF]. Since 2016, New York’s clean energy economy saw 8.9 percent employment growth, more than double the growth of the state’s overall economy. Today’s announcement supports Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Green New Deal, the nation-leading clean energy and jobs agenda putting New York on a path to a carbon-neutral economy.

Alicia Barton, President and CEO, NYSERDA said, "Under Governor Cuomo, New York has staked out a clear global leadership position in advancing a plan to combat climate change and advance clean energy, and this report demonstrates that those efforts are already paying off. The clean energy industry is adding high-quality jobs at more than twice the rate of the overall economy, and New York is quickly beginning to outpace the rest of the country in becoming a global hub for clean technology businesses. By continuing to invest in New York’s clean energy businesses and workers, the Governor is providing exactly the kind of leadership we need today to build the thriving clean energy economy of tomorrow.”

The 2019 New York Clean Energy Industry Report compares data on clean energy jobs, geographic distribution, and employee needs, revealing important patterns and trends to inform policy recommendations on how to meet New York’s clean energy and climate goals, help create jobs, and drive economic opportunity across the state. The report demonstrates that as a result of the state’s nation-leading energy policies, New York’s clean energy economy continues to drive economic development and employment growth and opportunities. Since 2016, New York’s clean energy economy saw 8.9 percent employment growth–stronger growth than the state’s overall economy, which grew 3.4 percent–adding more than 7,000 clean energy jobs across the state in 2018.

Key findings from this year’s report include:

  • Energy Efficiency continues to be the largest clean energy technology category with 123,292 jobs, or 77 percent of all clean energy employment in New York.
  • Firms in the grid modernization and energy storage technology category grew five times faster than national employment in this sector. In 2018, employment increased by 35 percent, far exceeding last year’s 8 percent growth during this time and five times greater than national employment growth of 7 percent in this sector.
  • All regions in New York are demonstrating strong clean energy workforce opportunities that are changing the lives of New Yorkers by providing good-paying jobs, cleaner air and a more sustainable environment.

Over 80 percent of employers who hired clean energy workers in the past year expressed difficulty in hiring in order to keep pace with the industry’s growing job demands. To address the challenges employers are facing in hiring skilled workers with the proper experience and industry-specific knowledge, Governor Cuomo announced in March the launch of New York’s $175 million Workforce Development Initiative (WDI) to address the needs of rapidly expanding industries including clean energy and advanced technologies. WDI builds on $27.5 million in incentives NYSERDA made available last year to assist clean energy businesses with recruiting and training new employees, upskilling existing workers, and establishing a talent pipeline to reduce businesses cost of attracting and hiring new workers.

NYSERDA’s existing workforce development and training opportunities are already showing signs of success:

  • Energy Efficiency and Clean Technology TrainingLink opens in new window - close new window to return to this page.: NYSERDA has provided $3.3 million to train over 17,000 New Yorkers in energy efficiency and clean technologies.
  • On-the-Job TrainingLink opens in new window - close new window to return to this page.: In the last year, NYSERDA has provided over $700,000 in support to 36 energy efficiency and clean technology businesses across the state to help hire and train 106 employees in New York, including 45 from environmental justice, low-income, veteran, and formerly incarcerated populations.
  • Clean Energy Internship Program: NYSERDA has placed 129 clean energy interns at 20 New York businesses across the state. Businesses who bring on paid interns through the Clean Energy Internship Program are also eligible for on-the-job training support.
  • Building Operations and Maintenance Worker Training Program: Currently, NYSERDA is working with 36 companies, providing nearly $8 million to train over 4,600 workers, creating the talent development strategy, corporate culture, on-site training framework, and training tools needed to support building operations and maintenance workers beyond classroom training.

Additionally, NYSERDA is working closely with the Department of Labor (DOL) to host job fairs across the state to connect businesses with job seekers. In July, NYSERDA and DOL hosted their first job fair in Westchester County with more than a dozen HVAC businesses and more than 100 jobs seekers attending. A plan to hold clean energy job fairs across the state with a focus on energy efficiency, heat pumps and solar is under development and is expected to begin in this fall.

New York State Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon said, “We are thrilled to be partnering with NYSERDA to help support New York’s growing clean energy economy. This work is vitally important to making Governor Cuomo’s Green New Deal a reality, and will benefit workers and our environment for generations to come.”

Senator Kevin Parker, Chair of the Senate Energy Committee, said, " As the Chair of the Senate Energy and Telecommunications Committee, I have always believed in, and advocated for, significant investment in green collar jobs. The high quality jobs that are produced as we move to a clean energy economy will have a transformational effect especially in Black and Brown communities traditionally plagued by unemployment and underemployment. I applaud Governor Cuomo for creating these high quality jobs while working to increase our state’s reliance on renewable energy. I remain eager to work with the Governor and my colleagues at all levels of government to ensure that these green collar jobs and the positive externalities of NY’s Green New Deal are realized - exponentially, in communities of color like the 21st Senate District I represent."

Senator Todd Kaminsky, Chair of Senate Environmental Conservation Committee, said, “New York is poised to become the focal point of a 21st century green economy. With these statistics proving that the green economy is taking off, the targets set by the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act have the potential to catapult our state to the forefront of those leading the us into a new, green era.”

Assemblyman Steve Englebright, Chair of Assembly Committee on Environmental Conservation, said, “New York State is leading the way towards a cleaner healthier environment and as a result is realizing the benefits of new green jobs for New York’s residents. I expect as the new Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act is implemented this trend will expand and accelerate.” said Assemblyman Steve Englebright Chair of the Assembly Committee on Environmental Conservation.”

New York State's Green New Deal

Governor Cuomo's Green New Deal is the most aggressive climate and clean energy initiative in the nation, putting the state on a path to being entirely carbon-neutral across all sectors of the economy and establishing a goal to achieve a zero-carbon emissions electricity sector by 2040, faster than any other state. It builds on New York's unprecedented ramp-up of clean energy including a $2.9 billion investment in 46 large-scale renewable projects across the state, the creation of more than 150,000 jobs in New York's clean energy sector, a commitment to develop nearly 1,700 megawatts of offshore wind by 2024, and 1,700 percent growth in the distributed solar sector since 2012.

The recently passed Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) mandates the Green New Deal’s national leading clean energy targets: nine gigawatts of offshore wind by 2035, six gigawatts of distributed solar by 2025, and three gigawatts of energy storage by 2030, while calling for an orderly and just transition to clean energy that creates jobs and continues fostering a green economy. The CLCPA also directs New York State agencies and authorities to collaborate with stakeholders to develop a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 85 percent from 1990 levels by 2050 and aim to invest 40 percent of clean energy and energy efficiency program resources to benefit disadvantaged communities.