Techtalk - The Nxtgen Blog

Clean Jobs Midwest – 2021 Report

Clean Jobs Midwest is an annual report on clean energy employment based on survey data within 12 Midwestern states. The goal of the report is to show the size, scope, and potential of the clean energy industry within Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

On August 11, the 2021 Clean Jobs Midwest report was issued by Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) and Clean Energy Trust.

E2 is a national, nonpartisan group of business leaders, investors, and professionals from every sector of the economy who advocate for smart policies that are good for the economy and good for the environment. Clean Energy Trust provides catalytic capital and support to early-stage startups in the Greater Midwest working on solutions for clean energy, decarbonization, and environmental sustainability.

Coinciding with release of the report each year is a panel interview featuring authors of the report from Clean Energy Trust and E2 as well as 2-3 business leaders who represent the clean energy jobs being created in our region.

As Founder of NXTGEN Clean Energy Solutions in Independence, OH, Russ Bates was honored to be part of the 2021 panel discussion. The panel also consisted of Ian Adams-Managing Director at Clean Energy Trust; Micaela Preskill-Midwest States Advocate at E2; Maria Onesto Moran-President of Green Home Experts in Lyons, IL.

Russ was asked to share his story about starting his own business, transitioning from the fossil fuel power generation industry to clean energy. In addition, Russ shared his thoughts on how state and federal policy can help the industry grow. As the group discussed, among the various challenges renewable energy projects face, is Ohio General Assembly’s recently passed Substitute Senate Bill 52, a significant revision to Ohio’s power siting approval process for utility-scale solar and wind projects.

Senate Bill 52 implements additional roadblocks for utility scale solar projects in Ohio.

Key takeaways from this year’s report:

  • Over 677,000 Midwesterners work in the clean energy industry
  • 2020 was the first year since the report started in which the region lost clean energy jobs (due to the pandemic-induced recession), although there were a few bright spots:
    • Jobs in advanced transportation increased in every state, driven by the growth of electric vehicles and hybrids
    • Wind jobs grew by 4% in the Midwest and now employs more than 37,800 people
    • Energy Efficiency remains the largest clean energy sector in the region, employing over 470,000 people

Clean Energy Trust develops Clean Jobs Midwest in partnership with Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) with support from the McKnight Foundation to tell the story of the region’s clean energy sector. Survey research for this report was conducted by BW Research Partnership, a national leader in workforce and economic development research.

You can watch the full panel discussion below: