Tennessee Report: Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Jobs Can Stoke Economy

February 02, 2009

The State of Tennessee released a report in late January that says the state could reduce its unemployment rate, reduce manufacturing job losses, and increase income growth by investing in energy efficiency and renewable energy.

The report Growing Green: The Potential for Green Job Growth in Tennessee was prepared by the Research and Statistics Unit of the state's Department of Labor and Workforce Development's Employment Security Division and submitted to the Governor's Task Force on Energy Policy.

Five energy efficiency and renewable energy sectors within the state were analyzed in the report: "green" building, biofuels, wind, solar, and geothermal energy. In those sectors, the report identified 162 occupations representing employment potential in Tennessee.

Many of the potential gains would be in the same categories of jobs people work in today. For example, construction and modification of green buildings requires electricians, roofers and carpenters. Expansion in biofuels requires chemical engineers, agricultural equipment operators and truck drivers. Construction of wind energy sources requires tool and die makers, metal fabricators, and industrial production managers, among many others.

The report states:

  • By spending $1.9 billion to expand energy efficiency and renewable energy production over two years, Tennessee could create about 45,000 new jobs.
  • By accelerating its investment effort, the state could gain more than 4,200 full-time jobs in wind and nearly 400 in solar components manufacturing by 2015.
  • Among the 162 occupations related to green jobs in Tennessee, 75 percent do not require a college education.

"Green jobs have the potential to be an important economic engine for Tennessee," Governor Phil Bredesen said. "Transferring skills from manufacturing and other industries to the growing green job market could mark a turning point for job creation and retention in our state."

For more information, read the full report. (PDF 5 MB). Download Adobe Reader.

To read more about renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in Tennessee, see: