Renewable Energy Jobs are Booming in Colorado, Across U.S.

Auston Van Slyke

Auston Van Slyke, program director for the wind energy technology program at Ecotech Institute, recently wrote about the growth of jobs in renewable energy in Colorado and across the country in a byline for the Denver Business Journal.

In the article, Van Slyke highlights some impressive numbers for job growth in the industry:

  • The Colorado wind and solar industries currently employ more than 11,000 workers.
  • The Colorado solar industry saw a 16 percent jump in job growth in 2015.
  • The U.S. solar industry added more than 20,000 workers in 2015.
  • Wind turbine technician is currently the fastest growing profession in the country.
  • The solar industry projects that it will more than double by 2020, reaching 420,000 workers.
  • A U.S. Department of Energy report released last year found that the American wind industry could support 600,000 workers by 2050.

He attributes this growth to a few factors, including extensions to the federal production and investment tax credits for wind and solar, which will continue to drive down the cost of renewable energy and "create additional demand for new in-state renewable power projects."

The price of wind energy has dropped more than 66 percent between 2009 and 2015, while the cost of solar installation has decreased 73 percent since 2010. Wind power was also the top source of new electric generation capacity in 2015; the solar industry additionally installed enough panels to produce 7,260 megawatts of energy, a record-breaking amount.

Most importantly, he notes, renewable energy is produced and serviced locally, meaning most jobs can't be outsourced to other parts of the world.

In short, it's a good time to pursue a career in renewable energy, especially in Colorado. Van Slyke notes, "With our state's tremendous wind and solar power potential, Colorado is well positioned to meet that demand."

Read the rest of the article on the Denver Business Journal website.

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