The potential of hydrogen power to bridge economic gaps and create solutions to modern problems means we stand to gain now more than ever by focusing on this energy source. As unemployment remains a problem in the wake of COVID-19 and traditional power sources are besieged by various issues, hydrogen remains strong.
With one study showing that by 2035 as many as 675,000 jobs in the hydrogen sector could be created, struggling U.S. employment rates stand to be powerfully impacted by this energy market. From manufacturing to construction, our economy stands to benefit as a result.
Hydrogen has the power to fill in gaps, support the energy economy, and get Americans back to work in a career that can make a real difference in the world. As hydrogen fuel companies look to innovate for the changing economy, they must keep these impacts in mind.
Getting Americans Back to Work
Since COVID-19 struck the U.S. economy, unemployment rates have been a concern across the nation. An estimated 9.6 million Americans lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic, with labor force participation dropping overall. Compared to Europe’s numbers, the economic effects were deeper and harsher, in part due to the American government’s focus on stimulus as relief versus the job retention policies utilized by some European nations.
Now, the American economy struggles to regain its footing. While recovery is happening, it is happening slowly. Over a year into the pandemic, we are still seeing employment down 8.5 million people from pre-pandemic levels. Of this massive number of displaced workers, minorities and low-wage laborers experienced the worst of COVID’s economic effects, losing jobs at higher rates than other groups in a comparative analysis.
The response to pandemic recovery, however, has been somewhat unified in both Europe and America. Both economic regions are focusing on building back better and greener, with plans laid out to revitalize the energy infrastructure and support job creation. For example, the U.K. instituted a proposal to cut emissions from industry and transport and shift their support to alternative fuel sources. The U.K. government estimates this could help generate 220,000 jobs. Meanwhile, the U.S. has offered a similar solution.
The Biden-Harris Administration formed the Climate Innovation Working Group in combination with a suite of policies designed at transforming U.S. infrastructure and supporting alternative energy sources. These policies include $100 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Energy to aid in the transition to transformational, low-carbon energy techniques.
As an alternative fuel source that, with the proper practices, can be much cleaner and safer for the environment, hydrogen fuel will play a unique role in the development of U.S. infrastructure in the years to come. While estimates vary as to how many jobs President Biden’s infrastructure plan will create, it could be anywhere from 2.7 million to 19 million. At least a portion of these will emerge in the hydrogen industry.
As the U.S. pivots to more heavily support clean energy alternatives and invest in electric vehicle manufacturing, hydrogen fuel is a growth sector that will provide much-needed work for the American people. In turn, the U.S. economy can improve for the better.
Altering the U.S. Economy for the Better
Clean energy is a vital field. Exploring the potential of this industry and filling it with skilled workers will take the U.S. into new territory, reducing pollutants and improving lives and livelihoods nationwide. This is because old energy jobs are drying up, and new ones in industries like hydrogen fuel are on the rise.
For instance, over 300 coal-fired power plants have shut down in the U.S. since 2010. This has meant the dissolution of thousands of jobs in the nation, from miners to factory workers. At the same time, stock values for the largest oil companies have declined by more than half their 2010 worth, with more than 800 oil exploration and production firms filing for bankruptcy. The old ways are changing, and now fuel alternatives like hydrogen are on the rise, given their potential for cleanliness and efficiency.
The market for green hydrogen was recently valued at $786.9 million and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 14.24% into 2027. This growth comes in part because of hydrogen’s ability to power fuel cells that are two to three times more efficient than a gas-powered engine. As a result, the use of hydrogen in the electric vehicle market will only grow as nations and industries support more sustainable transportation. With the Biden-Harris Administration’s proposal to invest $174 billion in EV production and infrastructure, the U.S. economy will come to rely heavily on hydrogen fuel.
This is for the better since hydrogen can be cleanly produced through electrolysis powered by renewable energy sources. With it, American industries can power a cleaner world and attract a new base of skilled workers from Generation Z and beyond. Since these up-and-coming generations value socially active and tech-focused workplaces, businesses pivoting to or based in green hydrogen production have more to offer the broad market of workers looking to establish their careers.
With a transformed fuel economy that appeals to the values of new laborers, the U.S. is poised to fill more jobs and truly build back better.
Securing a Powerful, Working Future
To secure this cleaner, working future, however, companies across industries will need to prioritize social accountability. Doing so brings beneficial social, economic, and environmental consequences that — paired with clean hydrogen energy — can help sustain a thriving, sustainable workforce.
With all the impacts possible from a hydrogen-powered economy, we can get more Americans working in a highly beneficial industry. This will transform our infrastructure for the better while encouraging new generations of skilled workers.
Explore how you can promote hydrogen fuel adoption and the policies that support it. Then, watch Americans get back to work in a cleaner world.
Indiana Lee, Contributor
Indiana Lee is a professional writer who resides in the Pacific Northwest. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking with her two dogs and creating. Follow her Twitter account to learn more about her.
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