Vermont report on clean energy addresses bioenergy employment

By Erin Voegele | July 07, 2017

In June, the Vermont Department of Public Service released its 2017 Clean Energy Industry Report, revealing the number of Vermonters engaged in the clean energy industry has grown 29 percent since 2013. More than 12,000 Vermont workers are employed full-time in the clean energy sector, with more than 19,000 clean energy workers in total. When compared to last year, the sector employs an additional 1,300 employees, including those who work part time. Renewable energy firms currently employ 6,529 workers.

According to the report, employment in renewable energy generation declined by approximately 6 percent over the past 12 months, largely in the renewable fuels component of energy generation. Wood and non-woody biomass fuels respectively declined by about 270 and 160 jobs over this time period. The decrease is attributed to a number of factors, including declining fossil fuel prices.  

In 2017 biomass and bioenergy accounted for approximately 0.8 percent of renewable energy generation employment in the state, with non-woody biomass at 10.3 percent and woody biomass at 21.1 percent. Renewable heating and cooling reached 18.7 percent, with solar reaching 36.4 percent, wind reaching 5 percent, hydropower accounting for 1.7 percent, geothermal reaching 0.2 percent and other technologies accounting for 5.7 percent.

The report also indicates that the wood energy sector is an important component of Vermont’s energy profile, with approximately one in six Vermont households using wood products as a primary heating source.

Overall, the report found that Vermont’s clean energy economy is trending towards larger firms. In 2015, approximately 66 percent of firms reported one to five clean energy workers, compared to 59 percent in 2017. Over the same time period, firms with 25 to 99 workers increased by 2 percent.

A full copy of the report can be downloaded from the Vermont Department of Public Service website