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A switch to renewable energy could present more job opportunities, analysts say

Solar Panels
Posted at 1:41 PM, Apr 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-07 14:41:36-04

President Joe Biden is looking to shift the U.S. to 100% renewable energy by 2035. But for people who have spent their lives working in the fossil fuel industry, it’s a cause for concern.

But according to Burning Glass Technologies, job opportunities in green energy are already nearing the levels in fossil fuel industries with more room to grow.

“We think that there will be more jobs created in the green economy than there will be lost in the petra-chemicals economy,” said Matt Sigelman, the CEO of Burning Glass Technologies.

According to Burning Glass, the renewable energy industry employed about 410,000 people in 2019. Oil and gas had 515,000 employees in 2020, but as more opportunities for green energy surface, so will jobs in the field.

Burning Glass believes that 1 million new jobs will open up in green energy over the next five years.

For energy jobs that don’t require higher education, day-to-day work likely won’t change much. But for others, it may be tougher to transfer a skill set to green energy that’s suited for oil and gas.

That’s something Sigelman says Biden’s plan will need to focus on in order to be successful.

“We're going to need to be deliberate about helping Americans acquire the skills to fill all the jobs that we created,” he said. “The green economy requires different skills, and so we can't expect things just to work themselves out.”

The good news is once people have those skill sets, Sigelman says there’s room to make more money in oil and gas. He also says energy jobs could become more stable, says the U.S. will need to constantly be harvesting renewable energy based on demand. Typically, the oil and gas industry often sees booms and busts.