Job losses mount in renewable, efficient energy

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The portion of the energy industry that focuses on efficiency and renewables had great expectations last year that its better than usual growth rate would continue to propel the segment forward. But the industry, which includes renewable energy, energy efficiency, grid modernization and electric vehicles, is struggling with many of the same problems as its fossil fuel cousin as the coronavirus pandemic spreads.

About 14 percent of the so-called clean energy industry are unemployed, representing nearly 500,000 workers in the United States as the sector struggles to recover as it heads into the traditionally slower winter months, according to a report from a trio of environmental advocacy groups including Washington-based E2, Massachusetts-based E4TheFuture and Washington-based American Council on Renewable Energy. The industry added fewer than 14,000 jobs in August.

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Overall, just one out of every five clean energy jobs lost between March and May has returned, according to the report.

The efficiency and renewable energy segment of the overall energy industry has grown twice as fast as the overall economy between 2017 and 2019, according to the report. Before the spread of coronavirus, nearly 3.4 million U.S. workers were employed in the industry, exceeding the …

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