88,000 Wind Jobs and Hiring
It may not be anywhere close to the size of the oil and gas industry, but the wind industry has been on a hiring binge of late.
The wind sector supported 88,000 jobs at the start of 2016, according to the U.S. Wind Industry Annual Market Report Year Ending 2015, from the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) trade group.
The CEO of the AWEA, Tom Kiernan, said he expects the wind workforce could grow to 380,000 jobs by 2030. Wind outpaced natural gas last year as the leading source of new generating capacity. The industry was given a shot in the arm at the end of 2015 when Congress passed long-term extensions of tax credits for wind and alternative energy, delivering the wind sector a stabilized playing field—much different than the global commodity price ping-pong game that the oil and gas industry has lived with since Thanksgiving Day, 2014.
Data reported in a press release from the AWEA said wind sector job growth in 2015 is primarily attributable to more wind project development and construction, requiring more than 38,000 employees. “The industry also experienced a stabilization of its manufacturing sector, which supports more than 21,000 jobs in 43 states, up 10% over 2014. More than 8,800 jobs are held by wind turbine technicians,” which the BLS labeled the fastest growing job title in the U.S.
Texas is the wind sector’s largest employer, hosting 24,000 workers. Oklahoma had 7,000 wind industry workers, largely because of growth in wind-related construction. After Texas, the largest wind-employing states are Iowa and Colorado with over 6,000 jobs and Kansas with 5,000. The employment growth was driven by $128 billion in new wind project investment over the last 10 years. Texas’s capital investment in wind was $32.7 billion, followed by California with $11.9 billion, Iowa at $11.8 billion, Oklahoma with $9.6 billion, and Illinois with $7.7 billion.
New wind electric generation capacity measured 8,598 megawatts (MW) across 20 states. An additional 9,400 MW of wind capacity was under construction as of the start of 2016, with another 4,900 MW in advanced stages of development, the AWEA reports.
The AWEA maintains a jobs portal on its website. Sample job postings include:
- Exelon Corporation – Foreman-Mechanical/Maintenance – located in Wharton, Texas, Colorado Bend Power Plant
- Global Executive Solutions-Specialized Transportation – Sales and Terminal Manager in Houston Texas
- Cathcart Energy – Wind Farm Site Engineers for Wind Farm Construction – located throughout Wales