Creating Jobs in the Clean Energy Economy

Recent and broadly publicized assessments of job impacts within the coal industry have become a trending U.S. narrative, suggesting large-scale and dramatic job losses. This narrative focuses on the negative consequences of the U.S. shift to clean energy but frequently overlooks the job growth associated with emerging and increasingly robust clean energy economies. While many coal communities and associated sectors of the economy are aging and increasingly noncompetitive, emphasis on these vulnerabilities fails to spotlight the rise of new industries and economic development opportunities spawned by the transition to cleaner fuels.

This project will create a more realistic and comprehensive narrative of both job growth and decline prompted by the U.S. shift to clean energy. By undertaking a more strategic and complete analysis, we will examine how the clean energy transition will impact overall employment trends. The research design will involve comparing estimates of employment from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) forecasts with estimates from Georgia Tech scenarios with larger portfolios of energy efficiency and renewables – key ingredients of the new energy economy.


  • Baer, Paul, Marilyn A. Brown, and Gyungwon Kim. 2015. “The Job Generation Impacts of Expanding Industrial Cogeneration,” Ecological Economics, 110 (2015) 141153