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  • Report models impact of $99.2 billion of federal investments in existing programs and funding vehicles.
  • The stimulus could help get more than 500,000 unemployed clean energy workers in every state back on the job quickly.

Washington D.C — As Congress considers additional measures to support and jumpstart the U.S. economy, a new E2 (Environmental Entrepreneurs) and E4TheFuture analysis finds that the U.S. could create 860,000 full-time jobs for at least five years and add $66 billion to the nation’s economy every year for five years if targeted clean energy investments were included in the next round of federal stimulus investments.

The report, Build Back Better, Faster: How a federal stimulus focusing on clean energy can create millions of jobs and restart America’s economy, modeled the economic benefits of $99.2 billion of federal stimulus invested in existing programs and funding vehicles in three specific areas: renewable energy, energy efficiency, and grid modernization.

These three sectors were selected because of their proven track record of quick job creation during past economic stimulus programs, because most of these jobs can be done outdoors or in vacant buildings, and because existing, funding-approved programs already managed by the Department of Energy and other federal agencies could be utilized to administer such a stimulus.

The proposed stimulus would include increased funding for state energy programs, tax credit extensions for renewable energy and energy efficiency, port infrastructure enhancements, and upgrades to the nation’s electric power grid and communications networks.

According to the analysis produced by BW Research Partnership, a stimulus of this level would result in $330 billion in wages, local, state, and federal tax revenues and other economic benefits — more than triple the amount invested. Additionally, 33 states would each add more than 10,000 new full-time jobs, and every state and territory (with the exception of the District of Columbia) would gain at least 4,000 jobs.

The report comes after the latest monthly analysis of unemployment filings found the clean energy sector — the largest employer of America’s energy workers — is still suffering badly in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, despite a slight recovery in the month of June. More than half a million clean energy workers (514,200) filed for unemployment between March and June, according to separate analyses for E2 and E4TheFuture.

While some clean energy sector employees returned to work in June after the U.S. economy began widespread re-openings, a robust recovery in one of the nation’s biggest employment sectors anytime soon remains unlikely without direct action by Congress. Only one out of every six clean energy jobs lost since March returned in June, and as federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds are exhausted and states are forced to close businesses again in the face of COVID-19’s resurgence, more layoffs could be imminent without congressional action.

According to the analysis, as many as 2.3 million clean energy workers are employed by small businesses that received PPP loans.

  • Energy efficiency, the largest clean energy sector, would see:
    • 737,200 direct, indirect, and induced jobs each year for five years as a result of accelerating building energy efficiency upgrades and retrofits.
    • $44.1 billion in total earnings or income each year for five years
    • $51.3 billion in overall added value to the national economy each year for five years
  • Renewable energy, the largest employer of electric power generation, would see:
    • 50,000 in direct, indirect, and induced jobs per year for five years through the development of solar, wind, and other renewable energy generation projects
    • $1 billion in total tax revenues, including $850 million in state and local taxes per year for 5 years
    • $7.6 billion in overall added value to the national economy each year for five years
  • Grid modernization, the sector’s fastest-growing sector before COVID-19, would see:
    • 73,100 direct, indirect, and induced jobs each year for five years
    • $5.3 billion in total earnings per year for five years
    • $7.2 billion in overall added value to the national economy each year for five years
  • Texas and California would see the most jobs added—72,400 and 67,800 respectively— followed by Florida (41,800) while Illinois, New York and Ohio would all gain more 30,000
Derick Lila
Derick is a Clark University graduate—and Fulbright alumni with a Master's Degree in Environmental Science, and Policy. He has over a decade of solar industry research, marketing, and content strategy experience.

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