Biden’s clean energy plan key to restoring job losses in industry, US official says


July 19 (Reuters) – The U.S. energy sector lost 10% of its workforce last year due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a report released on Monday by U.S. government officials, who said the plan President Joe Biden’s clean energy was key to reviving the industry.

America’s energy workforce, from fossil fuels to solar power, lost 840,000 jobs in 2020 as the global health crisis undermined demand for transportation fuels and slowed down new projects, according to the annual report on US energy use.

The largest declines were in petroleum and natural gas-based fuels, with a combined loss of 186,000 jobs, or 21% of their workforce, according to the report. Employment in the wind energy industry was one of the only sectors to grow, posting a modest increase of 1.8%.

The Biden administration is pushing several initiatives to boost clean energy industries as part of a broader infrastructure package developed by Congress, arguing that a transition away from fossil fuels can create millions of union jobs though paid while fighting climate change.

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said on Monday that Biden’s plan was an opportunity to revitalize the energy sector while improving wages, union representation and diversity in the clean energy sector.

“While we have work to do to make our energy sector more robust, we also have a lot of work to do to make our energy sector look like America and to ensure that these new jobs in clean energy pay living wages, with good benefits and union membership, ”Granholm said at a virtual event to unveil the report.

Wind and solar jobs are currently less likely to be unionized than those in nuclear, natural gas and coal, according to the report. The energy industry as a whole also employs fewer women and people of color than the economy in general, according to the report.

The report was released by the National Association of State Energy Officials, the Energy Futures Initiative think tank, and the research firm BW Research Partnership, with funding from the US Department of Energy.

An earlier report this year by the same group also found that workers in nuclear power and fossil fuel industries earn higher wages than those in renewable energy sectors. (Reporting by Nichola Groom; Editing by Aurora Ellis)

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