The Trump administration wants to revive the coal industry to bring jobs back to working-class regions.
“I made them this promise,” Trump said recently, alluding to campaign promises. “We will put our miners back to work.”
But the real job potential isn’t in a dirty industry like coal.
It’s in renewables.
Solar energy has more than double the jobs as coal did in 2016 — 374,000 compared to 160,000, according to a new report by the Department of Energy.
As technology improves and prices fall for wind and solar energy, renewable energy is booming and raising the fortunes of a lot of people.
Another report by the Environmental Defense Fund found that renewables sector are hiring workers 12 times faster than the rest of the economy.
Perhaps most remarkably of all, 70% of the 2.2 million jobs in this sector are from employers with 10 or less employees.
Jobs cover areas like installation, maintenance, research and development, sales, marketing, and more.
Energy efficiency is another area that holds great jobs potential — 8 jobs are created for every $1 million invested in this field, compared to 3 in the fossil fuels field, according to the EDF report.
Furthermore, the job potential of coal is limited and waning even without regulations like the Clean Power Plan, which Trump aims to dismantle.
Coal jobs are being eliminated because of advances in technology and the shift away from underground mining to the heavily polluting process of mountaintop strip-mining, which doesn’t involve much human input.
Also, in the dirty fuel field, coal is being beaten by natural gas, which is far cheaper.
The renewable energy sector isn’t spread evenly across the country. States like California, which foster strong solar growth, have a much higher percentage of solar workers.
States in the Midwest, which boost wind production, have a lot of wind jobs.
If all states adopted renewable friendly policies, however, those jobs that the Trump administration wants to create would start to appear a lot faster — and the planet would be saved in the process.