More than 100,000 Americans now work in the wind industry, which is adding jobs much more rapidly than the economy as a whole, according to new data released this week.
“We are hiring at a nine times faster rate than the average industry in the country,” Tom Kiernan, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), a trade group, said at a press conference.
According to the report, 2016 was the second year in a row that more than 8,000 megawatts (MW) of wind capacity was added to the grid. There is now 82,000 MW of total wind capacity in the country, making it the largest source of non-fossil fuel generation for the first time.
The renewable energy sector as a whole is booming, with both wind and solar showing impressive gains over the past few years. From 2015 to 2016, solar nearly doubled the amount of capacity installed, and there are now more people working in renewable energy than in fossil fuels in nearly every state in the country.
Meanwhile, the federal government under President Donald Trump has taken steps to prop up the coal industry, including re-opening a loophole that allows the coal industry to short taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars annually in royalty payments.