EFI Insights: Clean energy jobs and the post-COVID workforce

Type Graphic of Women at 50 Yale 150

On August 24th, 2020, EFI Principal Melanie Kenderdine joined the Yale Center for Business and the Environment’s webinar on Clean Energy and the Post-COVID Workforce. The webinar served as part of Yale’s commemoration event: #50WomenAtYale150. The milestone marks the 50th anniversary of coeducation at Yale University and the 150th anniversary of the first women students who studied at the university. To celebrate past, present, and future female students, the webinar consisted of all women from varying work sectors. Panelists included:

· Commissioner Sadzi Oliva, Chair at NARUC Subcommittee on Supplier and Workforce Diversity

· Nicole Sitaraman, Senior Manager, Public Policy at Sunrun

· Barbara Tyran, President at Women’s Council on Energy & the Environment.

Kenderdine’s keynote address focused on workforce development and job opportunities within the clean energy sector.

Based on the U.S. Energy and Employment Report, the clean energy sector is a powerful job creator. Prior to COVID-19 economic crisis, the clean energy sector created 128,520 jobs in 2019 and clean energy jobs creation can help accelerate a green recovery. Kenderdine emphasized the need to focus on industries with high rates of job creation such as energy efficiency, hydrogen production, carbon capture, utilization, and sequestration (CCUS), and solar PV.

In her presentation, Kenderdine stressed the overlap between conventional energy jobs and clean energy jobs, highlighting opportunities where existing carbon infrastructure can be repurposed in the clean energy transition. Pathways to decarbonization will also require leveraging existing skill sets. For example, a worker in oil extraction has the skill set needed for CCUS.

The main takeaway for the future of clean energy is simple: Congress must pass an energy stimulus package.

Watch Kenderdine’s full presentation here.

-Claudia Prandoni

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