Electricity suppliers have been shedding jobs over the past three years, with a net loss of 5,800 jobs across the United States. While non-hydro renewable power plants have seen significant growth, these job additions were not enough to offset losses at nuclear, fossil fuel, and hydroelectric power plants.
According to analysis by the Energy Information Administration's Robert McManmon (using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics), gains in non-hydro renewables, job losses due to coal plant closures have been partially offset by new natural gas capacity additions. However, fossil fuel power plants still saw a net decline of 1,750 jobs from January 2011 - June 2014.
Nuclear power plants were responsible for the majority of job losses at American power plants. The closing of Southern California Edison's San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, Dominion's Kewaunee plant in Wisconsin, and the Duke Energy's Crystal River plant in Florida contributed to more than 4,900 cuts. McManmon notes that additional jobs will be lose with the closing of Entergy's Yankee plant in Vermont at the end of 2014.
Hydroelectric power has seen a 6% loss in jobs since January 2011. But, other renewables - namely wind, solar, biomass, and geothermal - have seen significant job gains despite largely declining electricity sales across the country. However, given the currently small size of this part of the power generation sector, these gains in non-hydro renewable jobs only resulted in a total gain of 1,800 jobs.
Photo Credit: Graphic by the EIA using BLS statistics