Renewable energy has been a topic for decades now, with steady advances in both wind and solar technology. As more nations and companies seek to limit their carbon emissions, there has been a steady increase in wind farms and solar fields across the globe. Jeff Bezos and Amazon unveiled The Climate Pledge (carbon neutrality by 2040) back in 2019, and so far more than 50 companies have signed on.
In addition, states across the US have made substantial commitments to new wind and solar projects. New York has 16 wind energy projects slated to begin in 2021, with a total price tag of eleven billion dollars. California plans to host 22 solar projects worth eight billion. Texas, however, outdoes them both combined, with 26 separate wind farms and 45 solar projects planned for 2021 – an investment of twenty-seven billion dollars. This has lead to a fundamental shift in the job market in the energy sector.
In the last 12 months job postings by the five largest oil and gas companies have fallen from a peak of 406 in February 2020 to 129 in March 2021, according to the Gray Job Posting Dashboard. These companies posted a total of 1,576 jobs between January of 2020 and March of 2021.
Employer Job Postings by Month (Exxon, Shell, Chevron, BP, Marathon)
So, how does that compare with the emerging renewables sector?
Employer Job Postings by Month (Vestas, Siemens, First Solar, Canadian Solar, Renewable Energy Group)
The renewables companies posted 11,446 jobs, more than seven times those of oil and gas companies. In 2021, postings by renewables companies have risen by more than 53 percent between January and March.
According to the 2020 US Energy and Employment Report, wind and solar firms employ roughly 360,000 people versus 900,000 in oil and gas, but Gray’s data makes it clear which industry is hiring more rapidly.