rid modernization investments are creating a construction boom across America — largely driven by the deployment of solar.
According to the Department of Energy’s latest report on jobs in the energy sector, employment in the electric power sector rose 13 percent in 2016 as utilities and developers built new power plants, replaced aging equipment, and invested in new technologies to manage an increasingly complicated distribution grid.
There are now 860,869 people employed in the electric power sector, an increase of more than 101,000 jobs from 2015. Workers in the construction industry building solar, natural gas and wind power plants accounted for most of the increase, reported DOE. The coming year will likely bring a 7 percent bump in employment across power generation.
Coal has long been the dominant fuel for America’s electric grid, but no longer.Utilities are burning less of it, and miners are digging less of it. Many politicians — including the incoming president — believe the decline of coal is wreckingAmerica’s economy.
But the opposite is happening. Jobs are being created in new areas of the economy.
There were 26,000 megawatts of new power plant capacity installed last year in the U.S. Wind provided 6,800 megawatts of new capacity, natural gas provided 8,000 megawatts, and solar provided 9,500 megawatts, according to the Energy Information Administration.
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