Solar’s Growth Brings New Interest to Clean Energy

Renewables are booming, with even some of the most unexpected players making a transition to clean energy.

This past year solar grew 119%, becoming the largest employer in the renewable energy sector. Clean energy investments outpaced gas and coal, 2 to 1. According to a report by Bloomberg Energy Finance, the U.K., the world’s first coal superpower, now “produces less power from coal than it has since at least 1850.”

Meanwhile, in 2015, fossil fuel jobs were down 14%.

While clean, green jobs are on the rise, concerns have been raised about those left unemployed by oil and gas. To ease this transition, Iron & Earth, a non-profit social enterprise led by ex-oil-sands workers, is providing those employed by fossil fuel companies with valuable retraining and employment opportunities to help their transition into the clean energy industry.

But it’s not just solar start-ups and wind turbine manufacturers driving this growth. Traditional energy companies are increasing their investments in renewables as well. For example, Canadian pipeline giants Enbridge and TransCanada are both taking another look at clean tech, with Enbridge focusing on wind and TransCanada trying to develop a more diverse clean energy portfolio. Additionally, French oil& gas company Total recently announced plans to invest $500 million per year into developing clean energy. They now refer to themselves as an oil, gas, and solar company.

Utilities are headed in the same direction, thanks to corporate demand and state policies. Renewable energy sales accounted for more than half of total sales at Sempra, PG&E, Edison International and Xcel this past year.

The opportunities offered by renewable energy are growing as rapidly as the industry itself. Green jobs, sustainable business practices, and affordable, clean electricity are becoming the new norm.

We at UGE look forward to providing more ways for corporations and employees to be a part of this movement. #GoGreen!

By Sofie Alabaster

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