On Monday, U.S. officials told in a virtual event that President Biden ‘s clean energy policies were critical to reviving the industry; particularly, they will be crucial to help the energy sector restore industry job losses.
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Indeed, the U.S. energy sector lost 10% of its workforce last year due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Specifically, the U.S. energy workforce, from fossil fuels to solar power, shed 840,000 jobs in 2020.
The energy job losses
According to the annual U.S. Energy Employment Report, this was the result of the global health crisis. Consequently, the pandemic sapped demand for transportation fuels and slowed new projects
In fact, the most significant declines were in petroleum and natural gas fuels, with a combined loss of 186,000 jobs, or 21% of their workforce. Also, employment in the wind energy industry was among the only sectors to grow, rising a modest 1.8%.
However, the Biden administration is pushing several initiatives to boost clean energy industries. Indeed, this plan is part of a sweeping infrastructure package currently under discussion in Congress.
Worth noting, U.S. officials supporting this legislation argue that a transition away from fossil fuels can create millions of good-paying union jobs. Also, this could be possible while countering climate change.
Accordingly, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said that Biden’s plan was an opportunity to revitalize the energy industry. Besides, she noted that this initiative could improve wages, union representation, and diversity in the clean energy business.
Biden clean energy plan – crucial
In this sense, the Secretary noted; “While we do have work to do to make our energy sector more robust; we also have a lot of work to do in making our energy sector look like America. Additionally, to make sure that these new clean energy jobs are paying family-sustaining wages; particularly, with good benefits and union membership.”
Worth noting, and according to the report, wind and solar jobs are currently less likely to be unionized than those in nuclear, natural gas, and coal. Also, the industry under the Biden administration’s policies must address gender inequalities in participation. For instance, the sector employs fewer women and people of color than the broader economy.
Lastly, the report was published by the National Association of State Energy Officials, think tank Energy Futures Initiative; and also, the research firm BW Research Partnership, with funding from the U.S. Department of Energy.
Finally, a report released earlier this year by the same group also found that workers in nuclear energy and fossil fuel industries earn higher wages than those in renewable energy sectors.