Vermont Business Magazine The number of Vermonters working in the clean energy sector increased by 1,366 since last year, a 29 percent increase since 2013. A steady increase in the clean energy job market is detailed in the 2017 Clean Energy Industry Report released today the Clean Energy Development Fund (CEDF). The report states that there are over 19,000 Vermonters employed in clean energy, 12,000 of which are full time jobs. With one in every 16 workers – or about six percent of the State’s workforce – now part of the clean energy economy, Vermont has the highest number of per capita clean energy workers of any US state.“It is always encouraging to see new jobs created in Vermont, and the clean energy industry continues to be an important contributor to our job market and economy,” said Governor Phil Scott. “Growth in this innovative industry also demonstrates why it’s so important to rebuild and train our workforce to support 21st century jobs for these businesses and other industries across the state – something my Administration is continuing to focus on.”This is the fourth year the CEDF and Public Service Department has published a report of Vermont’s clean energy workforce, and the trend is clear: Clean energy jobs are a growing and are a significant part of Vermont’s economy. Clean energy includes electrical and thermal energy efficiency, clean transportation, all forms of renewable energy, as well as work to modernize the electrical grid to be able to distribute larger amounts of renewable energy.”This report shows the promise of a diversified clean energy industry in Vermont,” said Andrew Perchlik, Director of the CEDF. Perchlik said, “We see further growth potential in our local wood heating sector, both for jobs directly connected to heating with wood chips and pellets, but also in support of the entire forest products sector that is vital to Vermont.”Commenting on the report Public Service Department Commissioner June Tierney said, “I’m pleased to see this sector of our economy thriving with numerous clean energy businesses employing so many Vermonters.” Vermont now has 3,751 clean energy establishments, nearly double the total reported in the 2015 report.The PSD’s Clean Energy Development Fund commissioned BW Research Partnership to conduct this fourth year study of the clean energy sector of the Vermont workforce. The full report can be found on the PSD’s web site HERE(link is external).“With one of every 16 Vermonter’s employment connected with our burgeoning climate economy, renewable energy, efficiency, and clean transportation help local communities prosper with good paying jobs and energy cost savings,” said Olivia Campbell Andersen, Executive Director of Renewable Energy Vermont. “Last year 1,366 more Vermonters joined the ranks of the hard working, clean energy innovators grateful to help their neighbors, schools, and fellow businesses affordably achieve energy independence.”Earlier this year, the Union of Concerned Scientist ranked Vermont as second in the Nation for Clean Energy Momentum(link is external). Most, if not all, indicators in the VCEIR point to a strong, resilient, and expanding Vermont climate economy which will hold that momentum. However, the VCEIR does indicate steps policy makers may take if this sector’s promising economic growth and employment opportunities are to be fully realized.In 2016, increases in electric vehicle range due to advances in battery capacity, decreases in price, and the expansion of charging infrastructure prompted electric car sales increased by 60 percent globally(link is external). This trend was reflected by Vermont’s clean transportation sector which saw the largest gains of all clean energy subcategories, with 37 percent employment growth over the last 12 months, equating to 357 additional Vermont jobs.“Electrifying the way we travel and relying on local renewable energy will help our economy grow,” continued Campbell Andersen. “With the right leadership, Vermont can capitalize on this opportunity to create jobs while transforming our transportation sector.” Clean transmission technologies, which include storage, smart grid, and microgrid technologies put 914 Vermonters to work with greater expected growth to come. The passage of Act 52 during the recent legislative session expands Vermont’s storage capabilities and makes room for home-spun grid innovations.“Energy storage is a game changer, offering greater resiliency, efficiency, and lower rates in the near future,” said Representative Laura Sibilia of Dover who championed the State evaluating opportunities for energy storage during the 2017 legislative session. “Other states have already moved forward in advancing energy storage deployment. With several local companies manufacturing these advanced technologies here in Vermont, we are poised to capitalize on this global economic opportunity.”Not all the news in the VCEIR was good news, however. Woody and non-woody biomass fuels saw decreases in job numbers, losing 270 and 160 jobs respectively. A bill active in the Vermont legislature sponsored by Representative Bob Helm of Rutland seeks to aid this sector with an exemption for highly efficient indoor commercial and residential biomass boilers from sales and use tax.“We need to be doing all that we can to lower heating costs and maintain our forestry and biomass jobs here in Vermont,” said Dave Frank of SunWood Biomass. “I am looking forward to seeing our state leaders progressing legislation that will allow more Vermonters to heat local when they reconvene in January.”While hiring became less difficult in 2016, it still remains a challenge with three-quarters of employers reporting difficulty hiring qualified workers. Looking forward, legislative leaders could see a strong return on investment from workforce development efforts in the clean energy trades.“There is a general consensus that we need to keep and attract young workers by providing them with the training they need to grow in well-paying trade jobs,” said Jeff Forward, Chair of Renewable Energy Vermont’s board. “The State’s economic efforts should focus on training and apprentice opportunities for the local clean energy businesses that are already looking for skilled workers.”Visit Renewable Energy Vermont’s website at www.revermont.org/resources/jobs/(link is external) for a listing of open clean energy jobs.Data for this year’s report is derived from the comprehensive BW Research Partnership Energy Employment Index (EEI). The Index is the result of a rigorous survey effort of traditional and clean energy establishments across all 50 states, based in part on the methodology refined during prior Vermont Clean Energy Industry Reports. VBM vermontbiz.comSource: PSD. REV. 6.19.2017.