From MEMA’s Vice President Megan Diver
A new report from the Governor’s Energy Office and Governor’s Office of Policy Innovation and the Future offers a detailed analysis of the momentum within Maine’s clean energy economy, and how the sector is emerging as a source of economic growth and potential workforce opportunities to assist the state’s recovery from the economic disruption of COVID-19.
Strengthening Maine’s Economy, unveils strategies for expanding Maine’s clean economy workforce, supporting innovation, and training opportunities in renewable power generation and energy efficiency.
The report found that Maine’s recent policy changes and investments in clean energy and energy efficiency have the state poised to potentially see increased workforce demands for these industries.
According to a 2019 national survey, Maine had approximately 14,000 workers in clean energy fields with 8,900 working in energy efficiency alone. While the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted this field, Maine saw growth in all energy fields between 2018 and 2019.
The most recent state workforce projections (PDF) indicate a slight decline in Maine employment over the coming decade, as a high number of workers reach retirement age. The report highlights the potential of the clean energy sector to forestall this trend over the next 10 years.
A survey of roughly 100 energy businesses and organizations compiled for the report found that workforce scarcity is a primary concern for the future, with the success of workforce development, recruitment and retention efforts seen as directly affecting to the sector’s overall economic impact. Workforce development is highlighted as the clear opportunity and challenge for Maine and the report calls for enhancing career and technical opportunities for Maine high school and college students, as well as marketing and recruitment for clean energy careers.
Since last year, Maine has set among the boldest clean energy goals in the nation, including a requirement that 80 percent of electricity come from renewable sources by 2030, and a goal of 100 percent by 2050 – if not sooner.
Strengthening Maine’s Clean Energy Economy was created for the Maine Climate Council, which will incorporate its recommended strategies as part of its four-year Climate Action Plan to be released on December 1.Read the report, “Strengthening Maine’s Clean Energy Economy,” online.