Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Report: Missouri Sees Strong Growth in 'Clean Energy' Jobs

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Report: Missouri Sees Strong Growth in 'Clean Energy' Jobs

Article excerpt

Coal is still king in Missouri, accounting for nearly 80 percent of electricity generation statewide, but a newly released jobs report shows the galloping momentum of clean-energy jobs in the state, and throughout the Midwest.

Employment in renewable energy, energy efficiency and related fields now exceeds 55,500 people in the Show-Me state and grew by 5.3 percent between 2015 and 2016 more than three times faster than Missouri's economy overall, according to an analysis unveiled Thursday by the Clean Energy Trust and the nonpartisan business organization, Environmental Entrepreneurs.

Among the state's main urban areas, the St. Louis area topped Kansas City and Springfield as the home of the most clean-energy jobs, with its 25,200 positions representing more than double the totals of the other two cities combined.

The jobs report was produced by combining employment data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics with results of a survey administered to thousands of Midwestern businesses by the firm, BW Research Partners.

Across the region and in Missouri, the bulk of the jobs more than 70 percent tallied by the report fall in the realm of energy efficiency, which includes installers, contractors and technicians who implement and verify home improvements that aim to optimize energy usage. The fastest growth, meanwhile, is in renewable energy, which leaped by 14.5 percent last year, according to the data.

About half of Missouri's clean-energy jobs are in construction positions that industry experts touted specifically for the job security that they provide.

"The big thing is the installers," said Steve O'Rourke, vice president of business development for Microgrid Energy, a St. Louis-based company involved with solar energy and energy efficiency projects. "That's a good-paying job that can't be outsourced."

The growth rate of clean-energy jobs in Missouri almost exactly mirrors that exhibited by the Midwest overall, which stands just a notch higher at 5.4 percent. Indiana paced the region with an 8.1 percent jump on the year, while Iowa home to some of the nation's best wind resources was second with 6. …

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