About the Survey

Clean Jobs Illinois is based on survey research data collected by BW Research Partnership. It was commissioned and developed by Clean Energy Trust in partnership with Environmental Entrepreneurs, Environmental Law and Policy Center and the Natural Resources Defense Council, which contributed financial and staff resources to support the research and report.

Nearly 1,600 businesses provided information on their clean energy activities and 415 businesses completed the full survey fielded by phone and web from Oct. - Nov. 2013. Complete details on survey methodology are available in the full report, available for download.

The survey is similar in its design to the highly regarded Massachusetts Clean Energy Center Industry Reports and relies on a narrow definition and conservative approach. It did not rely on economic models or accounting estimates to avoid over-counting jobs only marginally connected to the industry.

Even with this conservative approach, Clean Jobs Illinois shows that the state's clean energy industry is a significant source of jobs and an economic engine with tremendous potential for continued growth.

About the Survey Partners

Clean Energy Trust

Clean Energy Trust (CET) fuels clean energy innovation in the Midwest. A Chicago-based non-profit, CET helps launch, fund and grow Midwest clean energy companies to ensure a more prosperous, sustainable future for generations to come. It does this through direct investment, commercialization assistance, mentorship, access to its broad partner network and the promotion of a supportive clean energy community and business climate.

Environmental Entrepreneurs

Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) is a national community of business leaders who promote sound environmental policy that builds economic prosperity. It is an independent, nonpartisan resource for understanding the business perspective on environmental issues.

The Environmental Law and Policy Center

Environmental Law and Policy Center (ELPC) is among the nation's leading public interest environmental law advocacy organizations, with a focus on the Midwest. ELPC develops and leads advocacy campaigns to improve environmental quality and protect natural resources.

Natural Resources Defense Council

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an environmental action organization that uses law, science and the support of 1.4 million members to protect the planet's wildlife and wild places and to ensure a safe and health environment for all living things.

Credits

First and foremost, Clean Energy Trust, Environmental Entrepreneurs, Environmental Law and Policy Center and the Natural Resources Defense Council thank the nearly 1,600 firms that provided information on their clean energy activities in response to the Clean Jobs Illinois survey. Their participation has provided valuable information that increases our understanding about a vital part of the state's economy

We are also grateful to Energy Foundation and Joyce Foundation for their generous sponsorship of the project. Their work and support is helping bring about the clean energy future.

A number of other organizations contributed to the project by providing data for the survey, encouraging survey participation among their networks, identifying employees for profiles or providing research data analysis. They include:

AllCell Technologies, Cyclone Group, ComEd, Elevate Energy, Illinois Chamber of Commerce Energy Council, Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers - Local 15, Invenergy, LanzaTech, Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, Scranton Heating and Cooling, UIC Energy Resources Center, Wind on the Wires

Finally, we thank BW Research Partnership and Studio 424 for their efforts conducting, analyzing and bringing to life the Clean Jobs Illinois research and report.

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Worker Profile

Adam Reich

An Army veteran, Adam began working in the clean energy industry last year and is using his vocational training to help Scranton Heating and Cooling’s customers save energy and money.

Meet Adam

Adam Reich

Job / Position

Installer

Company

Scranton Heating and Cooling

Industry

Geothermal/
Energy Efficiency

After serving in the Army for six years, Adam Reich enrolled in Midwest Technical Institute’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning program. A job shadow opportunity at Scranton Heating and Cooling in Mt. Sterling, Illinois led to a full time job when he graduated in 2013. “Even though I’m the newest guy on the team, we do service calls together so I’m learning a lot,” says Adam of the on-the-job experience he is gaining installing and servicing residential geothermal energy systems and energy efficient appliances.

The geothermal systems Adam installs consist of a loop system buried in the earth that is connected to a heat pump in the home. This captures the moderate temperatures in the ground to provide warm air in winter and cool air in summer. Scranton Heating and Cooling estimates that geothermal offers between 40% and 50% electric bill savings versus conventional systems. “Usually people are pretty well versed on the benefits of geothermal since they have heard about the savings,” says Adam.

Worker Profile

Maggie Pakula

Maggie Pakula is helping the wind industry master big data to improve performance and operational practices. Keeping existing wind farms productive helps encourage future development, and ultimately that means more wind power.

Meet Maggie

Maggie Pakula

Job / Position

Manager of Performance
Analytics

Company

Invenergy

Industry

Wind Energy

The soaring wind turbines that dot the Illinois countryside are equipped with sensors that constantly transmit data back to wind companies. “Our wind fleet generates massive amounts of data. My role is to get as much useful information out of that data as possible to keep our turbines running optimally,” explains Maggie Pakula. Most days, Maggie works at a desk, but a couple times each year, she scales Invenergy’s wind towers to see new technology or complete safety training.

In 2010, Maggie left a Ph.D. program at Stanford University for her job at Invenergy, North America’s largest independent wind power generation company. “Being involved in the evolution of how the wind industry uses data has been fulfilling,” says Maggie. Today, companies are placing as much emphasis on the efficient operation of wind farms as on the construction of new ones. Keeping wind farms productive not only maximizes operating wind projects, but helps encourage future development. That ultimately translates into more wind power, and makes the job rewarding.

Worker Profile

Rose Mcgee

Rose manages a team of fifteen operators at AllCell Technologies who manufacture custom lithium-ion battery packs and are helping build America’s clean energy future.

Meet Rose

Rose Mcgee

Job / Position

Production Leader

Company

Allcell Technologies

Industry

Advanced Batteries

America’s clean energy future is being built in advanced battery workshops like the one in Chicago that Rose McGee manages. Better batteries enable other clean energy technologies, like plug-in vehicles that can go farther on a single charge and solar systems that can store energy for use after the sun goes down. Rose manages a team of fifteen operators at AllCell Technologies who manufacture custom lithium-ion battery packs. The company’s technology is helping improve battery safety – a key industry concern. Rose thinks her co-workers are the best part of her job but says she also enjoys working in an industry that’s taking off, “It’s a new product, which makes it exciting.”

Rose has a bachelor’s degree and is pursuing a master’s degree in electrical engineering. This expertise made her an ideal fit for AllCell Technologies, which she joined in 2011. Although she has a supervisory role, Rose often gets on the line and can complete every step in the battery production process. It is work she takes pride in: “Being part of building something from the ground up – from nothing – gives me responsibility over making sure it’s a quality product.”

Worker Profile

Jeremy Owen

Jeremy helps LanzaTech produce low-carbon fuels and chemicals from carbon-rich gases, turning waste gases into clean energy and helping the energy industry move beyond the “food versus fuel” debate.

Meet Jeremy

Jeremy Owen

Job / Position

Engineering Manager

Company

Lanzatech

Industry

Carbon Capture /
Advanced Biofuels

Jeremy Owen spends his days studying how waste can be turned into products, and profits. The company he works for, LanzaTech, captures carbon-rich waste gases from large industrial operations like steel plants and uses microbes to recycle the waste gas. “We like to say that we give carbon a second life,” says Jeremy. The products from LanzaTech’s process – which can include ethanol or chemicals – can be blended into gasoline for cars, converted to jet fuel for airplanes or used to make common products like tire rubber and sporting goods.

Jeremy has worked in the clean energy sector on alternative fuels for ten years. When he entered the industry, he worked mostly on grain- and corn-based ethanol. Today, LanzaTech’s technology doesn’t rely on food crops to produce low-carbon fuels, helping the energy industry move beyond concerns about “food versus fuel”. To Jeremy, evolution in the industry is welcome: “Clean energy is a really rewarding area to work. It’s a space where there is a lot of change – to me that makes it very exciting.”

Worker Profile

Paul Garcia

Paul is equipping Illinois’ electric grid for the future. He works on Chicago’s South Side upgrading electric meters and answering customer questions like, “So, what exactly is a smart meter?”

Meet Paul

Paul Garcia

Job / Position

AMI Installer

Company

Com Ed

Industry

Smart Grid

Illinois’ electric system is catching up to the digital age, thanks to workers like Paul Garcia. Paul replaces old analog electric meters with new digital smart meters at homes on Chicago’s South Side. Part of his job is educating residents about their new meters. Smart meters communicate energy usage data in real-time, making customers more aware of how they use electricity and enabling utilities to better respond to outages. “Everyone wants to leave as small a carbon footprint as possible,” Paul says. “Once you are aware of how this technology helps save energy, you can take the next step.”

Paul joined ComEd in 2006 after graduating from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. After company training and three months on the job, he earned membership in the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. Today, he upgrades between 100 and 125 meters each week. “It seems routine, but the equipment we’re replacing is 50 to 100 years old – we see everything from birds nests to homemade wiring attempts inside old meters,” says Paul about the variety that keeps the job interesting.

Worker Profile

Scott Edwards

A service technician trained in energy efficiency upgrades and geothermal installations, Scott’s work puts him at the heart of growing demand for energy efficiency.

Meet Scott

Scott Edwards

Job / Position

Servcie Technician

Company

Scranton Heating & Cooling

Industry

Energy Efficiency /
Geothermal

Scott Edwards gets in to the shop at Scranton Heating and Cooling around 8 a.m. each morning before heading out for service calls until 5 p.m. In the wintertime, energy efficiency upgrades keep him busy. According to Scott, “Probably ninety percent of our heating and cooling work is energy efficiency upgrades. Customers are definitely looking for improved efficiency.” During the summer, Scott installs residential geothermal systems, which are popular thanks to electric bill savings and a 30% tax credit. In fact, only one of the last fifty new construction projects that Scranton Heating and Cooling worked on did not install a geothermal system.

“I didn’t know much about geothermal before I started, so that’s the most interesting part of the job for me,” says Scott. Before joining Scranton, Scott graduated from the Midwest Technical Institute’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning training program. Scott says the program equipped him well, “My training program definitely paid off. It made it a lot easier coming into the job having some of the basic theory behind the work and the technical skillset to handle the installs.”

Survey Results

Clean Jobs Illinois

An In-Depth Look at Clean Energy Employment in Illinois

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Welcome

Clean Jobs Illinois™ offers an in-depth look at clean energy employment in Illinois. It is based on data from survey research conducted by BW Research Partnership, a national leader in workforce and economic development research. Clean Jobs Illinois™ affirms that the state’s clean energy industry is a significant employer and an economic engine with tremendous potential for continued growth.

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In Partnership With

Project Sponsors

Research Team

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Getting Started

What is Clean Energy?

Find Out

It's Actually Pretty Simple.

Clean energy refers to a wide variety of technologies that create or conserve
energy and help us meet our 21st century resource challenges.

It's all Around Us.

Clean Energy is increasingly recognizable in our daily lives, from wind turbines and solar panels that harness clean, safe energy sources that won't run out; to electric vehicles that eliminate the need to stop and pay for gas; to thermostats that learn our behavior and lower our electric bills.

1

Homegrown energy innovation lessens our dependence on fossil fuels & foreign oil;

2

Reduces harmful air & water pollution; and

3

Lowers utility bills for families and businesses.

Let's Talk About

Clean Energy in Illinois

Learn More

0

CLean Energy Jobs
in Illinois

These are good jobs making Illinois' economy more productive and competitive and delivering energy that is secure, clean and affordable.

+9% Growth

The clean energy industry is expected to grow by 9% and will add its 100,000th worker in 2014.

62% of businesses in the clean energy industry focus on energy efficiency.

Clean energy is a significant
part of the illinois economy.

96,875

96,875 Illinois workers spend some portion of their day supporting clean energy activities - that's enough to fill Soldier Field one and a half times over. In fact, the clean energy economy is roughly the size of the real estate and accounting industries combined.

Clean Energy Jobs Are:

Engineering, research, manufacturing and assembly

Installation and maintenance

Sales, distribution and other

Rapid Growth

Forty percent of firms in the clean energy sector expect to add workers in 2014. The clean energy industry will add its 100,000th worker in 2014 and is expected to grow by 9%.

2013 Growth

Various clean energy sectors saw rapid employment
growth in 2013.

21%

Alternative
Transportation

5%

Greenhouse Gas Management

3%

Energy Efficiency

We are Well-Positioned to be a Leader in Clean Energy

However, policy challenges are weighing down growth among companies that focus on renewable energy.

Quality of life, proximity to customers and access to educated and skilled workers were top reasons firms chose to locate in Illinois.

World-class universities and research institutions and strong clean energy networks were also cited as advantages to locating in Illinois.

TOP 5

2008–2012

Between 2008–2012, Illinois was a top five state for renewable energy development. In 2013, due in significant part to policy headwinds, renewable energy industry employment contracted by 0.2%.

Maintaining a strong Renewable Portfolio Standard was cited by clean energy firms as the top area of importance for growing their business.

Clean Energy At Work

Clean Energy Jobs

Learn More

Clean Energy Jobs are in Demand

67% of clean energy workers in Illinois spend all of their time supporting clean energy activities.

21%

Engineering & Research

20,202 jobs

30%

Installation & Maintenance

29,083 jobs

14%

Sales & Distribution

13,897 jobs

14%

Manufacturing

3,299 Jobs

21%

Professional Services

20,393 jobs

Worker Profile

Adam Reich

An Army veteran, Adam began working in the clean energy industry last year and is using his vocational training to help Scranton Heating and Cooling’s customers save energy and money.

Meet Adam

Adam Reich

Job / Position

Installer

Company

Scranton Heating and Cooling

Industry

Geothermal/
Energy Efficiency

After serving in the Army for six years, Adam Reich enrolled in Midwest Technical Institute’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning program. A job shadow opportunity at Scranton Heating and Cooling in Mt. Sterling, Illinois led to a full time job when he graduated in 2013. “Even though I’m the newest guy on the team, we do service calls together so I’m learning a lot,” says Adam of the on-the-job experience he is gaining installing and servicing residential geothermal energy systems and energy efficient appliances.

The geothermal systems Adam installs consist of a loop system buried in the earth that is connected to a heat pump in the home. This captures the moderate temperatures in the ground to provide warm air in winter and cool air in summer. Scranton Heating and Cooling estimates that geothermal offers between 40% and 50% electric bill savings versus conventional systems. “Usually people are pretty well versed on the benefits of geothermal since they have heard about the savings,” says Adam.

Worker Profile

Maggie Pakula

Maggie Pakula is helping the wind industry master big data to improve performance and operational practices. Keeping existing wind farms productive helps encourage future development, and ultimately that means more wind power.

Meet Maggie

Maggie Pakula

Job / Position

Manager of Performance
Analytics

Company

Invenergy

Industry

Wind Energy

The soaring wind turbines that dot the Illinois countryside are equipped with sensors that constantly transmit data back to wind companies. “Our wind fleet generates massive amounts of data. My role is to get as much useful information out of that data as possible to keep our turbines running optimally,” explains Maggie Pakula. Most days, Maggie works at a desk, but a couple times each year, she scales Invenergy’s wind towers to see new technology or complete safety training.

In 2010, Maggie left a Ph.D. program at Stanford University for her job at Invenergy, North America’s largest independent wind power generation company. “Being involved in the evolution of how the wind industry uses data has been fulfilling,” says Maggie. Today, companies are placing as much emphasis on the efficient operation of wind farms as on the construction of new ones. Keeping wind farms productive not only maximizes operating wind projects, but helps encourage future development. That ultimately translates into more wind power, and makes the job rewarding.

Worker Profile

Rose Mcgee

Rose manages a team of fifteen operators at AllCell Technologies who manufacture custom lithium-ion battery packs and are helping build America’s clean energy future.

Meet Rose

Rose Mcgee

Job / Position

Production Leader

Company

Allcell Technologies

Industry

Advanced Batteries

America’s clean energy future is being built in advanced battery workshops like the one in Chicago that Rose McGee manages. Better batteries enable other clean energy technologies, like plug-in vehicles that can go farther on a single charge and solar systems that can store energy for use after the sun goes down. Rose manages a team of fifteen operators at AllCell Technologies who manufacture custom lithium-ion battery packs. The company’s technology is helping improve battery safety – a key industry concern. Rose thinks her co-workers are the best part of her job but says she also enjoys working in an industry that’s taking off, “It’s a new product, which makes it exciting.”

Rose has a bachelor’s degree and is pursuing a master’s degree in electrical engineering. This expertise made her an ideal fit for AllCell Technologies, which she joined in 2011. Although she has a supervisory role, Rose often gets on the line and can complete every step in the battery production process. It is work she takes pride in: “Being part of building something from the ground up – from nothing – gives me responsibility over making sure it’s a quality product.”

A Driving Force For Growth

Clean Energy Businesses

Learn More

Illinois' Clean Energy Sector is a Growth-Stage Industry

The Clean Energy Industry will add its 100,000th worker in 2014.

77% of Businessesemploy fewer than 25 workers.

6 Employeesis the average size of IL firms.

17% of Businessesare woman or minority owned.

0%

Click to reveal

Energy Efficiency:

fact 1:

Clean energy is as much about how we use energy as it is about how we produce it. In fact, energy efficiency is the primary focus for 62% of clean energy businesses. Energy efficiency technologies deliver comfort and consumer savings and include low energy lighting, heating and cooling controls and smart power systems.

Fact 2:

Thanks in part to the hard work and expertise of energy efficiency workers, household electricity use in the U.S. has fallen to the lowest levels since 2001.

Illinois is a Home to Clean energy

Quality of life is the primary driver of firm location in Illinois. Components of a strong business network were next most important, including:

30%Proximity to customers.

14%Access to educated & skilled workers.

14%Proximity to suppliers & vendors.

9%Proximity to world-class research universities.

Today's Business Climate

Businesses consider the clean energy ecosystem in Illinois to be a major advantage. In addition to proximity to customers, the biggest advantages of operating in Illinois that businesses cited were strong professional networks and resources in Chicago, such as the city's strong workforce and networking opportunities. Clean energy businesses also see the size of the Illinois market and central U.S. location as strengths.

The top weakness cited was the lack of economic development and business assistance. Businesses also pointed to disadvantages including high taxes and costs, government regulation and the political climate, including dysfunction and uncertainty.

Policy Environment

From a policy perspective, employers noted the following as areas of importance in terms of growing their clean energy businesses in Illinois:

  • Maintaining a strong renewable energy standard, known as the Renewable Portfolio Standard in Illinois
  • Creating stronger incentives and rebates for clean energy investment
  • Implementing regulations on traditional fuel sources, including for greenhouse gas emissions

When asked about specific policies that present obstacles, firms most frequently mentioned:

  • High taxes
  • Minimal state support for clean energy
  • Poor incentive, rebate and grant programs

Resources

Get Involved

Learn More

Get Involved in Clean Energy

Join The Clean Energy Conversation:

Get the latest commentary and analysis on clean energy at TheEnergyCollective.com.

Learn About Clean Energy Policy in Illinois:

Find out about important clean energy issues in Illinois at ILikeCleanEnergy.org.

Check Out Home Energy Savings Programs:

Save money by saving energy with Elevate Energy's Home Energy Savings Programs.

Explore Clean Energy Job Training and Careers:

Discover pathways into clean energy through the Illinois Green Economy Network.

Clean Jobs Illinois

Thank You!