Clean Energy Surge – Massive Job Growth Plus a First-of-its-Kind Facility

Clean Energy Surge – Massive Job Growth Plus a First-of-its-Kind Facility

The last few months have been an exciting time for the Hoosier clean energy sector. Right on the heels of a major report that forecasted “explosive growth” in the number of green jobs throughout Indiana and the Midwest, a new first-of-its-kind renewable natural gas plant began operations and launched a new frontier in our state’s clean energy production.

The news has been very interesting, to say the least. Let’s dive into the details.


Big-Time Job Growth

The Clean Jobs America 2023 report that was compiled by Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) contained a wealth of data about clean energy job growth in both Indiana and the rest of the country. When comparing 2022 to 2021, these jobs rose about 3.7% to a total of more than 88,400. To put that into context, the fossil fuel industry in Indiana has a roster of about 14,837 jobs.

The report stated that more than six times as many Hoosiers worked in clean energy than the number of lawyers, web developers, and real estate agents combined. Also, clean energy jobs grew 50% faster than the overall economy. Major federal incentives and their related projects their related projects are expected to maintain this trend in the years to come.”

For example, the Inflation Reduction Act spurred a wave of clean energy investments. Some of the big projects happening in Indiana include the $1.5 billion Entek battery separator plant in Terre Haute, the $3 billion General Motors battery plant in St. Joseph County, and numerous major solar industry developments that have been taking shape across the state.

“[This] is essentially the calm before the storm in terms of expected job growth for the sector and region. I’m on the edge of my seat to see what these numbers look like next year,” said Micaela Preskill, Midwest Advocate for E2.

The biggest areas where Indiana has seen recent job gains include the subsectors of energy efficiency, transportation, and renewable energy.

Energy efficiency was by far the biggest of these, where over 57% of the state’s clean energy employees work. These workers are involved with things like manufacturing ENERGY STAR-rated appliances, installing efficient components like modern HVAC systems, or installing advanced building materials. It’s a lot of activity.

There was also significant growth in employment across areas like electric vehicle production (9% growth), renewable energy jobs in solar (5% growth), and grid modernization (12% growth).


First-of-its-Kind Natural Gas Facility

Image from bp.

As if all of that news about the rise in clean energy employment weren’t enough, the Hoosier state had another recent breakthrough. This fall, a bp-owned company called Archaea Energy announced the official startup of its original Archaea Modular Design (AMD) renewable natural gas plant in Medora, IN.

The special thing about this plant is its ability to convert landfill gases into electricity, heat, or renewable natural gas. The plant sits next to a landfill owned by Rumpke Waste and Recycling.

Landfill gases are created by the natural decomposition of waste in landfills. They are greenhouse gases, but the technology in place at the AMD plant renders it much cleaner, less smelly, and more sustainable over traditional fossil fuel sources.

According to bp, the new plant can process 3,200 cubic feet of landfill gas per minute into renewable natural gas. That’s enough gas to heat around 13,026 homes annually.

The company has plans in the works for several other facilities of this kind, and their modular design will enable them to move quickly. This type of plant is built on skids with interchangeable components, leading to faster builds than previous industry standards.

“This is a powerful step forward in our net zero journey to capture landfill emissions and provide customers with lower emission, lower carbon fuel,” said Starlee Sykes, CEO of Archaea Energy.

Bioenergy is one of five strategic transition growth engines that bp intends to grow rapidly through this decade, in addition to convenience (retail), EV charging, renewables & power, and hydrogen. The company expects to invest up to $8 billion more in its transition growth businesses this decade.


Innovating and Investing

The future of clean energy is shining bright. From remarkable job growth in the sector to groundbreaking renewable energy initiatives like the Archaea Modular Design plant, Indiana is proving that sustainability and progress can go hand in hand. The state is not only redefining its energy landscape but also setting an inspiring example for a cleaner, greener tomorrow. As Indiana continues to innovate and invest in clean energy, the business potential seems boundless on our path to a more sustainable future.



Images from bp.

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