Clean energy industry now bigger employer than Boeing, Microsoft, Amazon

SEATTLE– (October 11, 2018) – Nearly 83,000 Washington state residents now work in clean energy, putting the state in the Top 10 in the country for renewable energy employment and making it one of the biggest in the country for energy efficiency jobs.

According to a new report from the national nonpartisan business group E2 (Environmental Entrepreneurs), 82,859 Washington residents work in clean energy. That makes the sector – which includes renewable energy, energy efficiency, clean vehicles and fuels and other industries – a bigger employer than Boeing, Microsoft or Amazon.

The state is No. 10 in the country for all renewable energy jobs and No. 9 for wind industry jobs. When it comes to all clean energy jobs, Washington is No. 13 in the country.

This report shows Washington State’s clean energy economy is vibrant and robust, employing Washingtonians throughout our state,” said Washington Governor Jay Inslee.  “But there is still plenty of room for growth.  There’s no reason that Washington state can’t lead the nation and become the hub for the clean energy industry.  Strong clean energy policies, such as I-1631 on the ballot this year, will send the right market signals to drive continued investment and job growth to ensure Washington’s clean energy economy reaches its full potential.”

According to E2 Western States Advocate Andy Wunder, groundbreaking clean energy policies – including the state’s renewable energy standard and the recent updates of state energy efficiency programs – have helped make Washington a leader in clean energy.

 “Smart policies – including putting a price on carbon – can keep these jobs growing and keep Washington at the forefront of the 21st century economy,” Wunder said.

“Clean energy in Washington is already on the rise,” said Seattle investor and E2 member Eric Berman. “A price on carbon would send a clear market signal that will drive greater investment in clean energy, in turn driving more job growth, lower energy prices, and a better economy and environment.”

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the fastest growing jobs in America over the next decade are solar installers and wind turbine technicians.

The report, Clean Jobs Washington, shows that about 5,200 Washington residents work in solar, and another 3,200 work in wind energy. Energy efficiency, the biggest and fastest-growing energy sector in America, employs about 62,500 Washingtonians.

The report breaks clean energy employment down by industry, metro area, congressional and legislative districts.

Other key findings:

  • About 3,300 Washington residents work in battery and other energy storage companies, one of the fastest-growing industries in the clean energy sector.
  • More than 2,800 work in clean vehicles businesses, including hybrid electric, natural gas and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.
  • Clean energy jobs are prevalent in Republican and Democrat congressional and legislative districts across the state, and in both urban and rural areas. While the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue metro area by far employs the most clean energy workers, rural Washington counties and towns employ more than 8,500 clean energy workers.

The E2 report follows E2’s Clean Jobs America analysis which found the clean energy jobs account for nearly 3.2 million jobs across all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Both reports expand on the 2018 U.S. Energy and Employment Report (USEER) that tracks all energy jobs in America and was released in May by the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO) and the Energy Futures Initiative (EFI). E2 was a partner on the USEER study.

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Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) is a national, nonpartisan group of business leaders, investors, and professionals from every sector of the economy who advocate for smart policies that are good for the economy and good for the environment. Our members have founded or funded more than 2,500 companies, created more than 600,000 jobs, and manage more than $100 billion in venture and private equity capital. For more information, see www.e2.org or follow us on Twitter at @e2org.