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Kentucky has the second fastest growing clean energy sector in the U.S.

Sustainability Director Caroline Cromer stands in front of solar panels at the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth ministry near Bardstown, Kentucky.
Ryan Van Velzer
/
LPM
Sustainability Director Caroline Cromer stands in front of solar panels at the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth ministry near Bardstown, Kentucky.

Kentucky’s clean energy workforce was the second fastest-growing in the country last year behind Tennessee, according to a new report.

More than eight times as many people worked in clean energy than coal mines in Kentucky last year, according to the 2023 Clean Jobs America report by the nonpartisan group E2.

The state added nearly 2,200 new jobs in the sector last year.

“That’s a real win,” said Sandra Purohit, E2 federal advocacy director. “In fact, it’s one of only five states in which clean energy employment grew by more than 6%.”

In total, more than 37,000 Kentuckians work in the state’s clean energy economy. The jobs span a wide variety of talents and sectors — including careers in energy efficiency, battery storage and transmission grids, biofuels, electric vehicles and renewable energy.

Purohit said clean energy grew faster than the sector as a whole, and faster than overall employment in Kentucky last year. Additionally, some jobs announced this year as the result of electric vehicle supply chain manufacturing coming to the state aren’t counted in the report.

“So this is a real shining light for the state in terms of its economy,” she said.

The nearly $6 billion BlueOval SK battery park in Glendale, Kentucky for example, will produce batteries for Ford electric vehicles and add an estimated 5,000 new jobs when complete.

In May, Gov. Andy Beshear announced Toyota plans to invest nearly $600 million in what will be the company’s largest manufacturing facility in the world. Toyota officials said they plan to hire 700 Kentuckians to establish the company’s first U.S.-assembled electric vehicles.

Ryan Van Velzer is WFPL's Energy and Environment Reporter. Email Ryan at rvanvelzer@lpm.org.