Lake County ranks third statewide in clean energy jobs

Wind turbines in Indiana Fowler Ridge wind farm along highway 18 between Interstate 65 and Highway 52. Clean energy jobs grew by 4.7 percent in Indiana last year.

Lake County ranks third in the state in clean energy jobs, a fast-growing field as manufacturers and utilities like NIPSCO look to reduce their carbon footprints.

A new report by Clean Energy Trust and E2 found that more than 86,000 Hoosiers now work in clean industries, up 4.7% from the previous year. The sector added 3,885 jobs in Indiana in 2018, at a rate that outpaced both the regional and national average.

Lake County had 5,364 clean energy jobs, trailing only Marion and Elkhart counties statewide. Porter County had an estimated 1,728 clean energy jobs last year, including 1,250 in energy efficiency-related positions.

“In just about every clean sector, Indiana’s impressive jobs numbers show its economy is ready to take the next step and become a national destination for clean and renewable investments,” said Phil Teague of the Indianapolis-based solar company Rectify. “In solar, Indiana is only seeing the start of an industry with the growth potential to bring financial and economic opportunities to workers and their families in every part of the state.”

The report found that clean energy jobs now account for 2.6 percent of all jobs in Indiana. The bulk is in energy efficiency, a sector which employs 55,090 workers statewide. Advanced transportation is second with 17,104 jobs after 18.3% growth last year. An estimated 10,764 workers are employed in renewable energy generation across the Hoosier state.

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An estimated 1,389 Hoosiers work in grid modernization, and another 1,791 in energy storage. The bulk of the clean energy jobs are in construction or manufacturing.

"With job growth across the renewable energy generation, energy efficiency, and advanced transportation sectors, this report shows that Midwestern economies are benefiting from the clean energy industry,” said Erik Birkerts, CEO of Clean Energy Trust. “Further, this report indicates that the Midwest is creating jobs in the clean energy industry more quickly than the rest of the country — a sign the Midwest is a good place for clean energy businesses to grow.”

Overall, more than 737,030 workers in the Midwest now work in clean energy-related fields, the study found.

“Since we began tracking this data four years ago, the Midwest has seen significant growth every year—adding nearly 170,000 clean energy jobs since 2015,” said Micaela Preskill, E2 Midwest States Advocate. “This report clearly proves that clean energy in the Midwest is not just a trend, it is driving economic growth and opportunities across the region.”

For more information, visit www.e2.org/reports.


Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.