With many countries looking to transition away from fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy, the electric vehicle sector is poised to experience explosive growth over the next decade. Although electric vehicle adoption is pretty low, primarily due to high prices and insufficient public charging infrastructure, the industry is still seeing steady growth. According to a recent report from the Department of Energy (DOE), EV jobs skyrocketed in 2021.
The DoE’s 2022 U.S. Energy and Employment Report (USEER) reveals that electric vehicle jobs increased by 26.2% in 2021, adding a total of 21,961 job opportunities to the industry. In fact, the report showed that electric vehicle jobs in America were significantly responsible for the energy sector’s growth last year. Except for fossil fuels, the 2022 USEER report states that the entire energy sector saw positive job growth, growing 4% from 2020 to 2021.
This average growth rate, which was more than the overall job growth rate in the country (2.8%), resulted in an additional 300,000 jobs in the energy sector and raised the total number of jobs in the energy sector from 7.5 million in 2020 to 7.8 million the next year. More than 20,000 of these additional jobs were in the battery electric vehicle segment.
The hybrid EV segment saw jobs increase by 19.7% (23,577), and plug-in hybrid EV jobs were up by 30.9% (14,790 jobs), while jobs in the hydrogen fuel cell segment increased by 41.4% (4,160). However, these wins in the EV sector were accompanied by losses in the fossil fuel space, with this segment accounting for most of the energy jobs lost in 2021.
For example, both off-shore and on-shore petroleum operations lost 31,593 jobs (6.4% reduction), the coal segment lost 7,125 jobs (11.8%), and fuel extraction jobs went down by 12%. On the other hand, biofuel jobs such as renewable diesel and waste fuel operations were up, increasing by 6.7% and creating 1,180 jobs.
Derrick Figures, the labor and economic director at the Sierra Club, says that the while the nascent clean energy industry has limitless potential, the world will only realize this potential by making bold investments in clean energy to ensure equitable access. He said that the figures presented by the 2022 USEER report are proof that the EV sector could eventually allow us to transition away fossil fuels such as diesel to renewable energy.
Entities such as QuantumScape Corp. are also making significant strides in the development of solid-state batteries, a move that could accelerate the stationary energy storage segment and create even more jobs in the green energy sphere.
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