Clean energy jobs clustered in Milwaukee area

Wisconsin’s clean energy jobs are largely clustered in the Milwaukee metro area, according to a new report on the Midwest clean energy economy.

Jobs numbers are broken down by county, legislative district and metropolitan statistical area in an interactive map. The state’s metro areas range between 1,188 jobs in Fond du Lac to 20,127 in the Milwaukee/Waukesha/West Allis area.

The report shows: Sheboygan with 1,265 clean energy jobs; Wausau 1,648; Eau Claire 2,011; Racine 2,072; Appleton 3,069; Oshkosh/Neenah 3,210; Green Bay 3,747; and Madison 8,723.

Though the tool doesn’t display information for the La Crosse and Janesville MSAs, it shows La Crosse County has 1,830 clean energy jobs, and Rock County has 1,622 clean energy jobs.

Looking at the Midwest as a whole, the report shows the region has over 714,000 workers in clean energy. The top five states for these jobs are Michigan, Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin, per the report.

Most of those jobs — about 500,000 — are in energy efficiency, while renewable energy has about 83,000. Construction makes up about 39 percent of these, while manufacturing makes up another 33 percent.

Broken down further, clean fuels technologies employ nearly 8,000 workers in the region, while about 10 times as many are employed in clean vehicle industries.

Employers are predicting 4.5 percent clean energy job growth in 2018, largely driven by small businesses. These companies with fewer than 20 employers make up 71.4 percent of all clean energy businesses, the report shows.

It also shows the region’s clean energy economy employs more than all the waiters and waitresses, computer programmers, lawyers and web developers in the Midwest combined, citing info from the Department of Labor Employment Statistics.

The top counties in the 12-state area examined in the report are:  Cook County, Ill., with 54,735 clean energy jobs; Oakland County, Mich., with 30,276; and Hennepin County, Minn., with 23,364.

And the region’s biggest metro areas — Chicago, Detroit and Minneapolis — collectively employ 172,031 in clean energy, while 158,531 come from rural areas.

The report was created by Clean Energy Trust of Chicago and Environmental Entrepreneurs, a national environmental advocacy group. It includes North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana and Ohio.

Erik Birkerts, Clean Energy Fund CEO, says it’s “irrational” not to embrace and support clean energy sectors for driving economic development.

“The beauty of data is that it cuts through political rhetoric,” he said. “These findings show that clean energy jobs in wind, solar 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.”

See Wisconsin data here:

–By Alex Moe