DOE says Georgia’s clean energy sector has grown; larger surge expected

State’s 80,710 jobs ranks 16th among other states but hot EV projects promise many more hires
(L-R) U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm and White House National Climate Advisor Ali Zaidi speak to electric car-owning members of the EV Noir car club at Georgia Tech on Wednesday. (Arvin Temkar / arvin.temkar@ajc.com)

Credit: arvin.temkar@ajc.com

Credit: arvin.temkar@ajc.com

(L-R) U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm and White House National Climate Advisor Ali Zaidi speak to electric car-owning members of the EV Noir car club at Georgia Tech on Wednesday. (Arvin Temkar / arvin.temkar@ajc.com)

Clean energy jobs are on the rise in every state, with the sector in Georgia accounting for more than 80,000 jobs — and growing, according to a report from the U.S. Department of Energy.

The report showed jobs growing by 3.8% between 2021 and 2022, faster than the pace of overall employment growth during that time, with expansion in every state.

Georgia’s manufacturing sector, which has now surpassed its pre-pandemic level, has seen private spending in clean energy follow government spending, an “industrial strategy” that should spur continued growth, Jared Bernstein, chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“When you build a factory, you hire manufacturing workers and you are investing in a long-term project,” Bernstein said. “That’s not a monthly or quarterly investment. That is for the long-haul.”

Some of the incentives are federal, included in several large packages that provide billions of dollars in new spending as well as tax credits. Some incentives are statewide, including support for worker training and tax advantages. Some are local, like the $700 million in property tax breaks to Rivian for its plant east of Atlanta.

The DOE report was released in the days before an Atlanta visit by Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, who is touring the country touting the Biden administration’s economic and environmental policies.

“The reality is, on the ground, you now have a policy where you can manufacture things in America again,” she said Wednesday during an event co-hosted by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Georgia Tech.

“Clean energy jobs increased in every state,” according to the report.

Nearly 300,000 jobs were added, bringing the sector to more than 8.1 million positions by the end of last year in technologies from wind to solar to grid modernization, according to the report. “Employers across all technologies report they expect growth,” it said.

Georgia, in the midst of dramatic investment in plants that will build electric vehicles and batteries, is on track for a surge in coming years.

Georgia currently ranks 16th among states with 80,710 clean energy jobs, according to the Department of Energy.

That puts the state far behind the leaders, especially California, which has more than a half-million clean energy jobs, and Texas, which has a quarter of a million. Georgia is 16,000 jobs behind Number 11 Virginia, but is fewer than 700 jobs from the Number 12 spot.

In the past two years, makers of electric vehicles and their suppliers have announced more than 40 projects in Georgia totaling more than 28,400 announced jobs and $22.7 billion in anticipated investment, according to the state Office of Economic Development.

Hyundai Motor Group is currently building a $5.54 billion EV factory near Savannah. Electric vehicle startup Rivian plans a $5 billion factory east of Atlanta. (Cox Enterprises, which owns the AJC, has about a 4% stake in Rivian.)

Various suppliers for the production of vehicles and batteries are also expanding in Georgia.


States with most clean energy jobs, end of 2022

California 527,696

Texas 248,891

New York 171,377

Florida 164,037

Illinois 126,806

Massachusetts 121,939

Michigan 119,623

Ohio 108,006

North Carolina 105,151

Pennsylvania 99,956

Virginia 97,156

Maryland 81,383

Washington 81,257

Indiana 81,249

Tennessee 81,054

Georgia 80,710

Source: U.S. Department of Energy

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