Clean Energy Drives Growth in Illinois Jobs

The recent Clean Jobs Illinois survey announced that there are over 100,000 jobs in clean energy sectors, with 7,574 added in the last 15 months alone. Illinois is fast becoming a critical hub for the expansion of clean energy industries in the Midwest and the nation, with diverse economic opportunities in energy efficiency and renewable energy leading the charge.

Clean Energy Trust released findings of the the latest Clean Jobs Illinois survey, and we’re proud to announce Illinois’ leadership and continued growth in clean energy sectors.

From energy efficiency, to wind, solar, and geothermal power, to alternative transportation fuels, the clean energy industry is an important and dynamic sector which now employees over 104,000 workers in Illinois. This industry created 7,574 new, high paying clean energy jobs for Illinois workers across education level, technology, and geographic region in the last 15 months. Further, this industry is poised to add an additional 7,860 clean energy jobs in Illinois in the next year. To ensure the continued growth of clean energy jobs in Illinois, we need to strive for a policy environment that provides business certainty, encourages competitiveness and enables small business to innovate and grow.

Energy Efficiency

Energy Efficiency makes up the largest portion of Illinois’ clean energy sector and accounts for two-thirds (66.0%) of clean energy jobs. Energy efficiency includes electrical upgrades to buildings, energy efficient equipment, and heating, ventilation and air conditioning upgrades.

Renewable Energy

Renewable energy includes bioenergy, solar power, wind power and geothermal energy. This sector represent more than 20% of clean energy jobs in Illinois. However, growth is being held back by state policies that are not working as designed and need to be fixed in order to create more jobs.

Strong Sector Growth

The expansion of building tradespeople, engineers, and heating, ventilation and air conditioning professionals in the clean energy sector is an important trend that has helped drive an increase in energy efficiency jobs by 14%.

Key Transitions

The transition from traditional sectors to clean energy is underway: clean energy not only grew, but its growth was largely driven by an increasing amount of clean energy activities in the traditional economy. These are employees at mechanical services companies learning new skills and starting to commission high efficiency HVAC systems, and these are engineers and architects designing high efficiency, Energy Star-rated buildings. Some of these types of companies existed previously, but the clean energy economy has led to new revenues and growth opportunities as they focus more of their work on energy efficiency. While larger, clean-energy-specific firms also grew, energy efficiency related work in traditional trades, sales and manufacturing added many more jobs over the period. This represents a transition of companies moving into the clean energy sector simply because it’s good for business.


This study was commissioned by Clean Energy Trust in collaboration with Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2), ELPC, NRDC, the Energy Foundation, and the Joyce Foundation.


Every dollar invested in renewable energy creates three times more jobs than fossil fuel industries. Be part of the growing investment in our energy future by donating to the Clean Energy Trust. Click here to learn more!

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By Ian Adams | May 12, 2015