By Boston Business Journal

The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center today released its 2011 Clean Energy Industry Report, citing the growth of companies and employment in sectors such as renewable energy, energy efficiency, alternative transportation and carbon management.

According to the MCEC, Massachusetts had 4,909 clean energy firms, and 64,310 people were working in clean energy jobs as of July. That amounts to 1.5 percent of the total state workforce.

The report says that the growth in the clean energy workforce was 6.7 percent between July 2010 and this past July.

During a tour of Boston-based Next Step Living, a three-year-old home energy efficiency company that has grown from its original four employees to 210, Gov. Deval Patrick said that in addition to the 6.7 percent year-over-year clean energy employment growth cited in the report, he expects the growth rate to double by mid 2012.

⿿In Massachusetts we are at the end of the pipeline, so energy costs are high,⿝ said Patrick, ⿿We have a tradition of innovation and invention that can be applied to the energy sector.⿝

In his introduction to the report, MCEC executive director Patrick Cloney noted, ⿿Masachusetts is a smart place to grow, start and scale a clean energy business. This industry ⿿ comprising a vibrant community of visionary people and world-class institutions working together to propel clean energy technologies from the drawing board to the global marketplace ⿿ provides one of the best opportunities for major economic and job benefits in the Commonwealth.⿝

The 6.7 percent growth rate for clean energy employment easily surpassed the 1 percent growth rate for all industries in the state during the same time frame.

The report cited consumer demand and several state initiatives, including the Green Communities Act, the Green Jobs Act and the Global Warming Solutions Act, as driving forces behind the growth of the clean energy sector in the state.

Breaking down the clean energy workforce, the MCEC report said 20,709 workers were employed primarily in installation and maintenance firms, 18,686 in sales and distribution, 11,019 in engineering and research firms, and 8,173 in manufacturing firms.

In a closer look at the employers, 2,687 produce goods or services related to energy efficiency, while 2,027 produce goods or services related to renewable energy.

In surveying employers, researchers found that they expect to add 9,769 clean energy jobs through July 2012, a growth rate of 15.2 percent.

The survey also found that 20.4 percent of employers reported ⿿great difficulty⿝ in finding qualified job applicants with adequate experience, while another 40.1 percent said they have ⿿some difficulty.⿝

Copyright 2011 American City Business Journals

Copyright 2010