In a world where resources are being replaced by new and improved solutions every day, we can be certain that one thing will always be necessary: Energy. It doesn’t matter if it’s renewable or not, there will always be a demand for energy. Where there is demand, someone will supply. This process creates jobs, which is awesome. It’s one of the reasons why there are so many jobs in energy right now. However, this industry is about to be flipped on its head with the rise of renewable energy. What can we expect from such sweeping changes in one of the largest industries in the world? Let’s take a look!
Where We Stand With Energy
If we want to properly analyze the energy industry, we must first examine where it currently stands in terms of electricity usage, cost, and other things that determine the amount of demand. We should also take a look at the current amount of jobs and salaries within the industry to see how the supply is looking.
Currently, in the United States, we consume roughly 3.9 billion kWh per year. That is the second-largest figure in the world annually, only behind China. One kWh of energy costs 12 cents on average across the US. Overall, the US spends more than $1 Trillion on energy each year or about $3,500 per person. This shows there is clearly a LOT of demand in the energy industry, especially in the US.
How about the amount of supply? Annually in the US, we produce just over 4 billion kWh of electricity, fairly similar to the amount of energy we consume. However, that is still a lot of electricity, and someone has to produce that. How many jobs are created by the energy industry? According to the 2019 USEER, there were 6.7 million Americans employed in energy in 2018. That’s a significant number, especially when you consider that the workforce itself is 147 million strong. The industry is also reportedly growing by 2% each year, meaning even more jobs for Americans. This is important in an industry that historically is one of the higher-paying industries around. The average salary for an electric utility worker is $70,000. Over $10,000 more than the average salary in the US of $56,000.
Where Are We Heading?
With the expected growth of the industry set at 2% per year, it’s fair to question which jobs stand to be replaced in the near future. The US will move towards more renewable energy, it’s only a matter of time. Currently, 11% of our energy in 2018 came from renewables. That’s without mentioning that there’s a major uptick in the number of cars on the road running on electricity. By 2050, 100% of our electricity is expected to come from renewables. In an industry with almost 7 million people, that can cause some major disruption.
Despite the average growth of the energy industry as a whole, the energy efficiency sector is surging as the fastest-growing sector in the US at 5.3%. In total, there are 2.3 million jobs within the energy efficiency sector, clearly, a figure that stands to increase quickly. Unfortunately, renewable energy is not seeing the same type of job growth due to a lack of quality talent within the sector. In the past few years, job growth has remained stagnant in renewables. The hope is that moving forward, more talent will join the field and push it further along. As the figures stated before, it’s certainly an industry in high demand.
The energy sector as a whole is, and always will be, in extremely high demand. Right now, it is going through some extreme changes that will change the landscape forever. While the entire industry is growing at an average rate, energy efficiency seems to be dominating and should be something to monitor in 2020 and beyond. This deep dive helped to show that while there are major changes happening right now in the energy industry, there is nothing to be worried about. Job growth is high, salaries are high, and the outlook for 2020 and beyond is electric.