The Bulletin Board

Report: State lost 5 percent of energy jobs due to the pandemic

By: - July 19, 2021 1:34 pm
Wind turbines on farmland

A Senate bill would increase the state’s involvement in offshore wind. (Getty Images)

In 2020, New Hampshire lost nearly 1,650 energy jobs, about a 5 percent decline from before the pandemic, according to a new report by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Energy efficiency jobs were among the hardest hit, according to Sen. Jeanne Shaheen.

“It was one of the sectors in energy that was growing the fastest, and we saw last year that we lost more jobs in energy efficiency than in any other sector,” Shaheen said.

The report finds that, over the past year, 1,075 energy efficiency jobs were lost in the state. 

New Hampshire wasn’t the only state to lose jobs. Across the country, energy jobs dropped from 8.4 million in 2019 to 7.5 million in 2020, a loss of 840,000 jobs or a 10 percent decline.

While the energy industry was impacted by the pandemic, it has been making a quick recovery – gaining workers in wind energy, battery storage, and electric vehicles, the report finds. 

“Before the pandemic, the energy industry was growing twice as fast as the overall economy and the fastest growing job in America was a wind turbine technician,” according to Jennifer Granholm, the secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy.

Bar chart of energy jobs
Solar electric generation employs the most workers in New Hampshire when it comes to power generation at 1,393 workers. Source: “Energy Employment By State, 2021,”

And a survey of energy employers indicates that they are expecting a surge of growth in the coming year. According to Granholm, the global market for clean energy technologies is projected to reach $23 trillion by 2030.

The report also found that, nationally, wages in energy jobs are 34 percent higher than wages in the overall economy. The median wage for an energy worker in New Hampshire is $26.13, or 37 percent higher than the national mean of $19.14.

Of the energy jobs in New Hampshire, jobs in transmission, distribution, and storage tend to pay the most, at an average of nearly $32 an hour. Of the job categories the report looked at, motor vehicle jobs paid the least, at $23 an hour.

And New Hampshire was one of seven “top states to take grid modernization action.” Those actions could take the form of policy action, research and development, utility reform, and financial incentives.

In addition to the 10,838 jobs in energy efficiency, another 10,253 New Hampshire residents work in the energy sector. 

Solar electric generation employs the most workers when it comes to power generation at 1,393 workers, followed by wind electric generation at 1,145 people. While most of the state’s electricity is generated by Seabrook Station Nuclear Power Plant, the facility employs only 405 people.

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Amanda Gokee
Amanda Gokee

Amanda Gokee is the New Hampshire Bulletin’s energy and environment reporter. She previously reported on these issues at VTDigger. Amanda grew up in Vermont and is a graduate of Harvard University. She received her master’s degree in liberal studies, with a concentration in creative writing, from Dartmouth College. Her work has also appeared in the LA Review of Books and the Valley News.