Observations and Insight for New Year 2020

Happy New Year! I hope everyone has enjoyed some quality time with their friends and family and is recharged for the new year. This is our first newsletter of 2020, and we'll be sharing some of our observations and insight on high-level talent acquisition within the renewable energy market. I'm honored to say that 2020 marks our 10th year in the marketplace. Thank you to our customers for making 2019 the most successful year in the history of EnergeiaWorks. We look forward to helping you with your strategic hires in 2020.

This past year, employment in renewable energy achieved a record: the total number of jobs that have been created globally in clean-tech surpassed 11 million for the first time. China, Brazil, the United States, India, Germany and Japan have remained the world’s largest renewable energy employers, representing more than 70% of such jobs. Europe encompasses five of the world’s top ten countries accounting for installed wind power capacity. Overall, renewable energy hiring in 2019 was extremely strong! Our team at EnergeiaWorks finished the year with a 26% growth in revenue over 2018 and our January 2020 is tracking for a well above-average month. Heading into the new year, our current roster of open positions (63 roles across 28 active hiring clients) is a strong pipeline for our company. Is this a sign for the remainder of 2020? I believe it is. The ITC federal tax incentives for solar is scheduled to scale back this year and the wind PTC received a one year extension. On one hand, these measures could affect investment, development, and construction; but, on the other hand, corporate sustainability and state RPS's should continue to drive incentives for renewable energy growth.

While our revenue represents just a fraction of the overall hiring in renewable energy, EnergeiaWorks is the largest recruiting firm that exclusively searches clean energy in the US and Canada, and I believe our revenue is a good indication of the overall job health in renewables. Throughout the year, we filled roles in wind and solar manufacturing, distributed generation and utility-scale engineering and construction, commercial and utility-scale project development, as well as new projects in hydroelectricity, offshore wind, energy storage, and waste-to-energy projects. Here's a snapshot of our revenue by industry and vertical. The most notable change we've noticed is more hiring spend on project development and less on EPC/construction services.

  • Solar 62%
  • Onshore Wind 23%
  • Renewables (supporting more than one technology) 10%
  • Offshore Wind 5%
  • Development 35.5%
  • Manufacturing (including software) 25.5%
  • IPP 18.5%
  • EPC 13%
  • O&M Service 5%
  • Private Equity 1.5%
  • Distribution 1%

Solar: For the last nine years, EnergeiaWorks' revenue has always been majority-led by solar within the renewable energy sector. We're a proud sponsor of the Solar Jobs Census conducted by the Solar Foundation and provide them valuable information for their report. The 2018 census reported its second consecutive decline (3.2% since 2017) in solar jobs since its inception nine years ago. The US installed 2.6GW of solar PV capacity in Q3 2019, a 45% increase from Q3 2018, and a 25% increase from Q2 2019. But experts predict that Q4 2019 will be the largest quarter for utility PV installations since Q4 2016. Most of the uncertainty in solar (ie. module and metal tariffs) have been made certain. I'm expecting the jobs report to indicate that a rebound also happened in job creation in solar.

Onshore Wind: More US energy production comes from wind than solar, yet far less jobs are created in wind energy. 2017 was the first time in history that wind jobs have exceeded 100,000 in the United States and this trend continued in 2018. The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) has reported quarterly growth of 123% increase in installed wind projects in the first three quarters of 2019 over 2018. I'm predicting that the AWEA jobs report will also reflect an increase in job creation for 2019 as we (at EnergeiaWorks) saw an uptick in onshore wind placements in 2019.

Offshore Wind: This month marks three years since Deepwater Wind turned on Block Island Wind Farm and became the first operational US offshore wind farm. Since then, thousands of megawatts have been put into development. The 2019 AWEA Offshore Wind Conference and the 2019 IPF Business Network for Offshore Wind were huge successes! Ten East Coast and Great Lake states currently have 26 GW of committed offshore wind projects, which equates to thousands of jobs. What once seemed like a far-fetched idea of emulating western Europe new power generation is finally becoming a reality: offshore wind can quickly pass solar and onshore wind energy as the sector with the highest US employment rates within renewables. With multiple contracts executed in 2018 and 2019, you can bet that EnergeiaWorks will be staying on top of the developers, manufacturers, and EPCs servicing this industry.

Energy Storage: EnergeiaWorks' revenue in energy storage has been increasing steadily and consistently over the last five years. Storage jobs were up 284% in 2016 but only 47% in 2017. ESA is calling for the deployment of 35MW or energy storage project by 2025 and in turn, creating 167,000 industry jobs. I'd love to see this come to fruition! If more states (like New York) create a state RPS specific to energy storage, it could happen. If the storage lobbyists are successful in getting a stand alone storage project tax rebate, it could happen. New York State alone is saying their RPS could equate to 27,000 jobs in manufacturing and installation. What if other states or utility commissions create these mandates? Imagine the scope of job development!

If you’d like more information about global jobs in renewable energy, I recommend IRENA’s employment report. Domestically, The Solar Foundation covers important ground with their annual Solar Census, and AWEA issues a comprehensive report for onshore wind jobs in the US. If your company needs assistance with hiring strategy in the new year, please reach out to us to schedule a virtual meeting.

January 3, 2020 William Liuzza

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