WASHINGTON -- The Biden administration credited U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., with securing financing to revive a report on the impact of employment in the energy sector.
Shaheen said the report is a critical barometer to determine whether the country can meet goals for more investment in clean energy and lead to less reliance on fossil fuels.
During the pandemic, New Hampshire lost 1,650 jobs or 5% of its energy jobs according to the report.
The losses were about half of the 10% drop in energy jobs nationally.
U.S, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm hosted a virtual dialogue with Shaheen and energy industry experts Monday about how federal responses to climate change can unleash rapid growth in energy jobs that pay 34% higher than the national average.
The median wage for an energy worker in the state is $26.13 an hour, 37% higher than the national average of $19.14.
“Although we are still grappling with the economic shocks of the COVID-19 pandemic, the country is turning a corner and a strong energy workforce is critical to our full recovery,” Granholm said,
“The U.S. Energy Employment Report provides us with the best available data into the energy sector and we are proud to have DOE’s experts once again produce this crucial analysis.”
In 2019, Shaheen worked on legislation to return the annual report back under the Department of Energy’s control.
”Understanding evolving trends in the energy sector will support good-paying jobs and prepare our workforce for the future, which is why I’ve authored legislation to require this report at the Department of Energy,” Shaheen said.
Higher wages, better benefits
Jennifer Kropke, the federal agency director of the office for energy jobs, said these jobs are much more likely to be unionized and require labor agreements that offer better benefits than found generally in the private sector.
For several years, Shaheen has worked with a bipartisan group of senators on legislation to provide more federal incentives for companies to pursue energy efficiency projects.
In response to COVID-19, the energy efficiency sector had the largest employment drop of any in the country, Shaheen said.
“This is a great first start, it gives us the information that we need,” Shaheen said.
Last week, a Senate committee approved including $100 billion for climate change as part of a bipartisan infrastructure bill.
The proposal, which will likely need all 50 Senate Democrats to pass, includes a Clean Energy Standard (CES) that aims to help Biden reach a goal of achieving 80% clean electricity by 2030.