Report: N.J. ranks 9th in U.S. for jobs in renewable energy sector

Solar panel

A new report released Thursday highlights New Jersey’s ranking of 9th in the country for its approximately 52,000 jobs in the renewable energy sector, a number which only figures to grow as the current administration continues its focus on the industry.

The report from E2, Environmental Entrepreneurs, shows Bergen County as the highest ranking county in the state, with more than 6,400 jobs.

Bergen is followed by Middlesex and Morris counties, which both have more than 5,000 roles. Monmouth County follows with more than 4,700 jobs and Essex ranks fifth with 3,800 jobs.

The data reveals an interesting definition of the jobs considered in the sector.

Salem County, the site of the state’s three nuclear power plants and the region’s largest employer, is ranked last among all New Jersey counties.

This despite the fact that the nuclear plant owners recently billed the plants as clean energy in an effort to receive up to $300 million in state subsidies.

In a statement, a spokesman for E2 said, “E2’s clean energy jobs reports count employment in solar energy, wind energy, energy efficiency, combined heat and power, bioenergy, non-woody biomass, low-impact hydro power, geothermal, clean vehicle technologies, clean energy storage, smart grid, micro grid, grid modernization, and advanced biofuels. Other industries commonly associated with clean energy — such as corn ethanol, woody biomass, large hydropower, and nuclear — are not included in these jobs numbers.”

Construction, manufacturing and trade are among the highest of the clean energy sector for jobs in the state, according to the report.

Though New Jersey was a leader before the previous administration, especially in solar energy, it is back to being a strong advocate for the industry, the report suggested.

“New Jersey was one of the early leaders in clean energy, launching a billion-dollar investment program for energy efficiency, adopting a renewable portfolio standard (RPS) in 1999, and committing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2050 in the 2007 Global Warming Response Act,” the report said.

“The state was also a founding member of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and consistently ranks in the Top 5 states for solar power. Although the state lost its leadership status under Gov. Chris Christie, dropping out of RGGI and plummeting to 24th in the ACEEE energy efficiency rankings, it has a strong foundation on which to build.

“In 2018, the state passed a sweeping Clean Energy Act that will drive billions of dollars of investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy, setting New Jersey on a course for a dramatic increase in clean energy jobs.”

See the full report below.