This week, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick lauded the progress of the Cleantech sector in Massachusetts, and the over 88,000 jobs the Commonwealth’s clean energy businesses provide. In fact, employment in a clean energy field now represents 2.4% of all employees in Massachusetts. The 2014 Clean Energy Industry Report highlights the state’s “thriving local market for clean energy and a strongly supportive business environment.”
The sector has grown 47% since 2010. The report, put out by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center and funded by the Commonwealth, surveys clean energy employers in Massachusetts. Employers are optimistic about the future, and the report forecasts an additional 11,700 new jobs in the coming year.
According to the report, more than 12,000 of the nearly 21,000 renewable energy jobs in the state are in solar deployment; wind is second with over 3,000 jobs. However, it is energy efficiency that reigns supreme, with over 65,000 jobs.
On a national scale, Massachusetts ranks second in the country for its leadership in the Cleantech sector. As reported in the 2014 CleanTech Leadership Index, the Bay State’s combination of policy incentives, venture capital community, and commitment to efficiency and regulatory mandates lifts it over other states in the region. Falling only behind California, Massachusetts is strong in energy efficiency and green buildings.
Clean Edge, a research and advisory firm, ranks all fifty states in its annual report. The rankings are developed by assessing indicators for technology deployment, policy initiatives, and both human and financial capital. For a second straight year, Massachusetts leads the east coast in its clean energy achievements.
Massachusetts received high marks for its Cleantech investment activity, boasting the highest invested dollars per capita for venture capital investment in Cleantech. In the 5 years Clean Edge has produced the State Rankings, Massachusetts has always ranked Number 1 for Capital.
The Commonwealth also scored well for both its regulatory structure and its Cleantech incentives.
Boston ranked as the number 6 metro area for Cleantech, behind four northern California cities and Portland, OR. Number 9 Washington, DC is the only other east coast city to crack the top 10. Like Massachusetts as a whole, Boston scored well for its Cleantech investments, incubators and clean energy patents.
Both reports highlight the Commonwealth’s supportive environment for Cleantech development, access to capital and policy incentives. As a state, we can continue to be leaders in the field. The key to maintaining this success seems to be in education: developing a strong workforce to meet the needs of clean energy employers; helping our policymakers to support innovation; and informing consumers and investors alike of the benefits of a clean energy future.