Before the COVID-19 pandemic, more Americans worked in clean energy than there were schoolteachers in the country. Today, the booming clean-energy sector is coping with hundreds of thousands of job losses as a result of the ongoing coronavirus recession. While some companies have continued to grow, others have taken a big hit.

What will it take not only to get these jobs back but also to scale the clean-energy sector to new heights? What would it look like to put clean energy at the center of a U.S. economic recovery?

In this episode of Political Climate, we speak to Ellen Hughes-Cromwick, former chief economist for the Obama administration’s Department of Commerce and resident senior fellow at Third Way, about a new survey of American clean-energy businesses on what it will take to reboot the industry. We also speak to small-business leaders in Florida, Georgia and Pennsylvania to learn how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected their work and what they’d like to see from policymakers going forward.

This conversation comes as bipartisan clean-energy legislation is advancing in both the U.S. House and Senate. But prospects for a final bill remain uncertain as Republicans focus on nominating a new Supreme Court justice following the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Recommended reading: 

  • Third Way: How Clean Energy Businesses Can Survive and Thrive After COVID-19
  • PV Tech: Lackluster Job Growth Leaves 14% of U.S.’ Clean Energy Workforce Unemployed
  • E&E News: Clean Energy Push Caught in Congressional Chaos
  • The Hill: House Passes Sweeping Clean Energy Bill
  • Verge: Democrats Unveil New Agenda for Economic Recovery and Climate Action
  • A Green Economic Recovery: Global Trends and Lessons for the United States

This is the third episode in our « Relief, Rescue, Rebuild » series. The series theme song was created by @AYMusik. Listen and subscribe to Political Climate on Apple PodcastsSpotifyStitcherGoogle Play or wherever you get podcasts. Follow us on Twitter @Poli_Climate.