Six years ago, I moved to Illinois with my wife to pursue an MBA at the University of Chicago. While still a student, I co-founded a business that helped make it easy for Illinois residents to shop for their electricity and choose energy plan options that were best for them, including ones that offered up to one hundred percent renewable electricity. As a clean energy entrepreneur, I decided to call Illinois home and build my business here. Many other clean energy businesses, including the startups I mentor through my work with Clean Energy Trust, have decided that Illinois is the best place to locate and hire workers. That's why I'm proud to announce today the launch of Clean Jobs Illinois, a report on clean energy employment in our state that is brought to life through a brand new interactive website: www.CleanJobsIllinois.com.
Clean Jobs Illinois is based on the first comprehensive survey of clean energy businesses in Illinois. It found that there are 96,875 clean energy workers in the state.
In addition to the numbers, the report features the stories of real people who work in the industry -- like Adam Reich, an Army veteran who installs energy efficiency and geothermal systems in Mt. Sterling and Rose McGee, a manufacturing supervisor who builds next-generation batteries in Chicago. Here are some things you may not know about clean energy in Illinois that are included in the report:
- With 96,875 workers, Illinois' clean energy industry workforce is large enough to fill Soldier Field one and a half times over.
- Energy efficiency is the primary focus of 62 percent of Illinois clean energy businesses. Other sectors include renewable energy (21 percent), alternative transportation (5 percent), greenhouse gas management (1 percent) and "other" (12 percent).
- A number of clean energy sectors experienced rapid growth in 2013. Alternative transportation grew by 21 percent, greenhouse gas management grew by 5 percent and energy efficiency grew by 3 percent.
- Policy headwinds in 2013 held back other sectors, especially renewable energy companies and the businesses that support them. Clean energy firms cited maintaining a strong Renewable Portfolio Standard as the top area of importance for growing their business.
- Illinois is well positioned to lead on clean energy. Quality of life, proximity to customers and access to a skilled and educated workforce were top reasons businesses choose to locate in Illinois.
Clean Energy Trust commissioned and developed Clean Jobs Illinois in partnership with Environmental Entrepreneurs, The Environmental Law and Policy Center and the Natural Resources Defense Council. BW Research Partnership, a national leader in workforce and economic development research, conducted the survey, which included placing more than 27,000 phone calls and sending more than 9,000 emails. In total, nearly 1,600 businesses provided information for the survey. I encourage you to learn more about the businesses and workers that make up Illinois' clean energy industry by visiting www.CleanJobsIllinois.com.