The wind energy industry is a great place to be right now. Recently, the U.S. Department of Labor listed wind turbine service technician as the top growing job across all occupations. Now, new data from the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) shows exactly why the industry is seeing this impressive job growth.
On April 12, Vestas Wind Systems' Nacelle manufacturing facility in Brighton, Colo. served as host to an AWEA press event to announce the organization's release of its 2015 U.S. Wind Industry Annual Market Report. Speakers at the event included Governor John Hickenlooper and Ecotech Institute Wind Program Director Auston Van Slyke.
Key findings from the report highlight just how much the wind energy industry has grown in the past year and continues to grow today:
- Wind energy was the largest source of new electric generating capacity that came online in 2015, at 41 percent of the market – more than solar energy or natural gas.
- There was an all-time high of 88,000 wind energy jobs in 2015, a 20 percent increase from 2014
- With long-term, stable policy and with a broader range of customers, AWEA projects that the U.S. could increase the number of wind energy jobs to 380,000 by 2030.
AWEA also highlighted many of the benefits Americans experience because of increased access to wind energy, especially when it comes to saving money:
- Consumers in the 10 states with the most renewable energy pay less on their electricity bills than the 10 states with the least amount of renewables.
- Wind also cuts huge amounts of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides, harmful pollutants that cause smog and trigger asthma attacks. In 2015 alone, this saved $7.3 billion on public health costs.
Most importantly, the report shows that there is a serious need for well-trained professionals to fill jobs like wind turbine technician and meet the increased demand in the wind industry.
"It's important to properly prepare students interested in entering this rapidly-growing industry. We're committed to equipping students with the skills and training they need to launch their wind career," Van Slyke says. "And when I say career, that is an important distinction. It isn't just about a job, it's about a sustainable career, which we believe will help set them up for longer-term success after graduation."
Download AWEA's full report here.