Defining, Estimating and Forecasting the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Industries in the U.S. and Colorado

Although analysts have conducted renewable energy (RE) and energy efficiency (EE) industry studies and forecasts for more than the past three decades, no rigorous definitions currently exist for either of these industries or for their current size, structure, and composition.  In 2007, American Solar Energy Society and Management Information Services Inc. undertook the first comprehensive study of the size the breadth of the RE and EE industries, and we thus created the standard definition that provides comparability between data.  Prior to our earlier work, the basic knowledge of these industries was not well documented.

This report estimates and forecasts the RE&EE industries for the U.S. and Colorado, and the major contributions of the research summarized here include:

• Development of a rigorous definition of the RE and the EE industries
• Estimation of their current sizes and composition, including technology, sales, jobs, occupations,  and skills
• Forecasting their growth to 2030 under three scenarios

We found that, in 2007, the U.S RE&EE industries generated $1,045 billion in sales and created over 9 million jobs -- including $10.3 billion in sales and over 91,000 jobs in Colorado.  The U.S. RE&EE revenues represent substantially more than the combined 2007 sales of the three largest U.S. corporations -- Wal-Mart, ExxonMobil, and GM ($905 billion).  RE&EE are growing faster than the U.S. average and contain some of the most rapidly growing industries in the world, such as wind, photovoltaics, fuel cells, recycling/remanufacturing, and biofuels.  With appropriate federal and state government policies, RE&EE could by 2030 generate over 37 million jobs per year in the U.S. -- including over 600,000 jobs in Colorado.