Staff Report | Dispatch Argus
CHICAGO — More than 3,700 area residents now work in clean energy industries, according to an analysis released Wednesday by the Clean Energy Trust and the national, nonpartisan business group E2 (Environmental Entrepreneurs).
Illinois’ clean energy workforce employs 119,377 residents, more than six times as many people than all the computer programmers and web developers in the state, according to Department of Labor Employment Statistics.
Energy efficiency led all clean energy sectors in Illinois, employing 86,916 workers and accounting for seven in 10 of all clean energy workers. Renewable energy came in second with more than 16,900 jobs, led by wind and solar energy.
The report also listed Iowa as having 30,537 clean energy jobs, down fractionally from last year.
According to the report, Illinois saw a 7.6 percent growth in clean energy jobs between 2016 and 2017. Overall, the state now has nearly four times more workers in clean energy than fossil fuels.
The most clean energy jobs were in Cook County (54,735), DuPage County (13,075) and Lake County (6,130). More than 13,359 jobs came from Illinois’ rural areas.
“The beauty of data is that it cuts through political rhetoric,” said said Erik G. Birkerts, CEO of Clean Energy Trust. “These findings show that clean energy jobs in renewable energy and energy efficiency are growing across the region and that the Midwest continues to demonstrate it is a fertile region for clean energy innovation, enabling businesses to launch, grow, and create jobs.”