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Report: WA Shows Steady “Clean Jobs” Growth

June 11, 2009

Seattle, WA – Getting on the clean energy bandwagon appears to be paying off, in Washington and other states. A new report compiled for The Pew Charitable Trusts shows Washington's "clean jobs" growth isn't as fast as in some areas of the nation, but there are now more than 2000 clean energy-related businesses in the state. They account for about 17,000 jobs and have been growing steadily since 1998.

Investors also are pumping more money into clean energy businesses, 48 percent more in 2008 than in 2007. Much of it is coming to the Evergreen State, according to Phyllis Cuttino, U.S. Global Warming Campaign director for the Pew Environment Group.

"It's one of the top five states in the nation in attracting clean-energy venture capital, and it's been on the forefront of policy with renewable energy and efficiency standards."

The study didn't rely on formulas or estimates; instead, researchers tallied numbers of actual jobs by state in several areas, including new types of energy production, energy efficiency, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, conservation and recycling.

Ethan Bergerson, a regional representative for the Sierra Club, says the transformation is already happening in Washington, as the focus shifts from traditional energy sources to cleaner power and energy efficiency. And all of that takes skilled workers, he adds.

"One thing this report shows is, we have extremely high potential for more job growth. We'll need armies of electricians, construction workers, efficiency specialists…"

Just three weeks ago, Governor Chris Gregoire issued an executive order directing the state to increase its clean energy and conservation efforts.

Chris Thomas, Public News Service - WA