More than 22,000 Iowans are employed in Iowa's advanced energy industry, and hiring is on pace for the sector to reach nearly 24,000 jobs in 2015, according to an inaugural industry survey conducted for the Advanced Energy Economy Institute.


The AEE Institute is a nonprofit educational and charitable affiliate of Advanced Energy Economy (AEE), a national business association.


Advanced energy comprises a significant part of Iowa's economy, employing 1.3 percent of Iowa's total workforce. Employment in advanced energy-related businesses is greater than employment reported for crop production, general freight trucking and animal production in Iowa, according to the report.


"In states from coast to coast and in between, the advanced energy industry is substantial and growing," said Graham Richard, CEO of AEE and the AEE Institute. "This first-ever survey of advanced energy firms in Iowa shows that energy efficiency, biofuels, wind power and other advanced businesses are creating jobs and contributing to the Iowa economy."


Accounting for 22,643 workers at 1,427 establishments, the advanced energy industry in Iowa is largely "deployment-based," with nearly half of all firms (47 percent) engaged in the installation of advanced energy products, and a significant percentage (22 percent) focused on sales and distribution. Engineering and research firms account for 11 percent of advanced energy firms in Iowa, while manufacturing and assembly companies make up 6 percent of the total.


Advanced energy jobs in Iowa took a small (4 percent) dip from 2013, reflecting a widespread decline in wind energy installation due to uncertainty surrounding the federal production tax credit, although Iowa remains second in the nation in wind energy employment.


Advanced energy employment is expected to rise 6 percent in the coming year, based on the hiring plans of Iowa employers. Nearly one-third (31 percent) of advanced energy firms said they would hire more employees in the coming year, while a majority (63 percent) said they would hold steady at their current levels; only 1 percent expected to reduce staffing in 2014.