Hoping Against History: Clinton Calls for Millions of Clean Energy Jobs

There are very few 'clean energy' jobs

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton made a campaign stop in Michigan this week at which she pitched clean energy as a way to build the economy.

“Some country is going to be the clean energy superpower of the 21st century and create millions of jobs and businesses,” Clinton was quoted as saying in an MLive article. “It’s probably going to be either China, Germany or America. I want it to be us.”

ForTheRecord says: Politicians often pitch clean energy as a way to boost the economy and create jobs despite the fact that these energy sources have a track record of doing no such thing.

There were 26,878 jobs in the nation’s hydroelectric, solar, wind, geothermal, biomass and other non-nuclear, non-fossil fuel electric generation facilities, according to the 2015 edition of an annual report put out by the federal government.

That is out a total of 139.5 million U.S. jobs of all types, as reported by the Census Bureau for 2015.

In contrast, there were 163,588 jobs in U.S. electric generation operations powered by coal, gas, oil and nuclear fission. These workers are responsible for producing 87 percent of the nation’s electricity, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Hydro generates another 6 percent, wind 4.7 percent and solar 0.6 percent. Biomass, geothermal and "other gases" make up the remainder.


Note: The number of non-fossil, non-nuclear jobs may be slightly understated because solar, wind and biomass facilities owned by local governments are not disclosable in reports from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Also, when the number of jobs is very small or concentrated with a single employer, BLS sometimes suppresses data to avoid revealing confidential employer-level data.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.