Leaders from the National Urban League, through its Washington, D.C. bureau, and an energy organization recently spoke about the league’s focus on obtaining more opportunities for Blacks in the energy sector.
Marc Morial along with other leaders from the urban league and an energy organization held a teleconference on the current state of Black America in the energy sector.
Marc Morial, National Urban League president; Donald Cravins, senior vice president of policy and the executive director of the Washington bureau, and Paula R. Glover, president and CEO of the American Association of Blacks in Energy, convened a news teleconference Oct. 11 to release and discuss the, “21st Century Innovations in Energy: An Equity FrameWork” white paper. The paper, authored by Cravins, talked about the composition of the present energy sector, how it affects people of color and an action plan to make sure that minorities have an equitable stake in the industry.
The paper reported that in 2015, 36 percent of the energy consumed in the U.S. by all energy consuming sectors (transportation, industrial, residential, commercial and electric power) was from oil; 29 percent came from natural gas; 16 percent from coal; nine percent from nuclear; 4.9 percent from bio mass; 2.5 percent from solar, geothermal and wind.
Cravins said that 1.9 million jobs will be generated by the energy sector by 2035 and yet, many people of color are part of the energy “Have-nots.” Cravins also cited a study by Advanced Energy Economy that states that the energy sector generated $200 billion in revenue in 2015 and there is potential for minority businesses to joint venture or start firms in the arena.
Statistics from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics’ estimate that there were 1,267,000 people employed by utilities in 2015, with Blacks constituting 8.5 percent of the labor force, Asians at 3.3 percent and Latinos at 11.1 percent. Cravins noted that Blacks make up 12 percent of the American population and since the energy employment sector doesn’t match those numbers, said “there is definite room for improvement”.
According to Cravins’ report, the urban league plans to increase jobs for minorities; pushing for diversity at the corporate level; encourage minority ownership in the energy sector; advocate for STEM training for potential professionals of color and fair energy rates for all consumers; promote low-income energy programs as well as tools such as solar gardens and microgrids; support environmental justice; promote renewable energy; educate consumers on their rights; and foster supplier diversity.