Nearly 48,000 workers were employed in advanced energy businesses in Indiana in 2015, according to a new report published today by Indiana Advanced Energy Economy (Indiana AEE). That’s more Indiana jobs than are in machinery manufacturing (43,000), nearly two times the 25,000 jobs in colleges and universities, and approaching the 60,000 in auto parts manufacturing.
The report also marks the debut of Indiana AEE, which represents corporate members of the national business group Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) who see significant opportunity for jobs and business growth across the state. The effort is being led by Greg Ballard, former Republican mayor of Indianapolis, and Graham Richard, former Democratic mayor of Fort Wayne.
“We are in the middle of an energy transformation, even if most people don’t know it,” said Greg Ballard, senior fellow at Indiana Advanced Energy Economy, and former Republican mayor of Indianapolis. “Indiana has a chance to embrace that transformation and capitalize on it in jobs and economic growth. Indiana AEE is here to work with public officials and the community to make that happen.”
The report, Advanced Energy Jobs in Indiana 2016, prepared by BW Research Partnership, a leading workforce and economic development research firm, can be downloaded here.
One out of every 50 workers in Indiana is employed in the advanced energy industry, and employers expect to add over 900 new jobs by the end of 2016 – an increase of 2 percent. Most advanced energy jobs are in energy efficiency, followed by transportation, solar, wind, biomass, and advanced natural gas.
“Across the nation, we are seeing growing demand for secure, clean, and affordable energy resources, among large corporate energy buyers as well as residential consumers,” said Graham Richard, CEO of the national business group Advanced Energy Economy (AEE), and former Democratic mayor of Fort Wayne. “With a strong base of manufacturing and services industries, Indiana is uniquely positioned to grow, attract, and retain companies that both provide advanced energy products and services and depend on them for their operations.”
Indiana also faces energy challenges, according to Ballard, who notes that 75 percent of its energy comes from aging coal-fired power plants that are, on average, 50 years old. While Indiana ranks 16th in population, it is 9th in per capita for energy consumption, and with 100 outages affecting nearly 200,000 people, Indiana was among the Top 10 states for power outages in 2015. For these reasons, Ballard see opportunity for Indiana to benefit from modernizing its energy infrastructure and improving reliability, cost, and diversity of its electric power system.
— Solar Builder magazine