According to a nonpartisan business group, approximately 403,000 job opportunities are projected to be created by 210 major energy projects announced since the implementation of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) in mid-2022.
The report, released by Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) on Wednesday, highlights that these projects have attracted investments of at least $86 billion. The electric vehicle (EV), battery storage, and solar energy sectors expected to see the most significant employment growth.
Signed in August 2022, the IRA includes $500 billion in new federal spending aimed at reducing healthcare costs, boosting tax revenues, and addressing climate change. The IRA will accomplish these goals by incentivizing innovation and domestic manufacturing in the clean technology industry.
The IRA has created the most jobs in the EV industry. The EV sector is anticipated to generate approximately 185,700 jobs annually for the next five years, according to Fortune. 58% of the IRA’s funding went to EV-related businesses.
Additionally, battery storage and solar energy are expected to support approximately 48,000 and 35,000 jobs per year, respectively, over the same period.
Furthermore, the announced projects are also expected to indirectly create new job opportunities. For instance, the increasing demand for construction materials may lead to lumber mills hiring additional staff, and the presence of new factories can boost business for local restaurants as construction workers begin to frequent them.
The importance of education
The education sector is also beginning to recognize the green energy jobs revolution. Christopher Chung, CEO of the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, notes that numerous community colleges in the state are collaborating with private companies to establish local training programs and job opportunities.
Insufficient worker training remains the biggest threat to the green jobs revolution. A 2022 report found that globally, green jobs have grown by 8% per year since 2017. At the same time, the number of workers qualified to fill those jobs has grown by just 6% per year.
In the United States, the worst clean energy labor shortages exist within construction, manufacturing, and electrical work. Shortages also exist in waste management and environmental remediation.
Green jobs are here to stay
Despite these challenges, the long-anticipated green jobs boom is finally coming to fruition.
Some skeptics believe that once government incentives like the IRA are withdrawn, the renewables industry will collapse. But these predictions don’t align with the facts.
A recent study published in the journal Nature Communications found that solar energy will make up over half of global electricity production by 2050, even if governments don’t embrace further climate action.