Scott Butner

Net-Zero Northwest

Net-Zero Northwest: Technical and Economic Pathways to 2050 (NZNW) is a Clean Energy Transition Institute (CETI) project developed to provide energy pathways, health impacts, and workforce analysis to inform regional stakeholder action from now until 2030 to put the four Northwest states on the path to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.
  • NZNW Energy Pathways is a deep decarbonization pathways analysis that examines low-cost pathways for how the Northwest could achieve economy-wide net-zero emissions by 2050.

  • NZNW Health Impacts examines the health benefits that the Northwest could experience from reducing tailpipe and smokestack pollutant emissions if the region were to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

  • NZNW Workforce assesses how achieving net-zero emissions would impact existing and future employment in the Northwest regionally and within each state.

Energy Pathways Analysis

The NZNW Energy Pathways analysis offers guidance to Northwest policymakers and clean energy stakeholders on what actions to take from now to 2030 to get on the path to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.

The key themes that emerge from the analysis are:

  • The Northwest region is poised to lead on decarbonization, particularly in clean fuels development.

  • Siting and permitting will shape the Northwest’s new energy map.

  • Federal funding is boosting nascent clean energy technologies.

  • An equitable clean energy transition is not a given and must be planned with authentic community engagement.

Explore how energy resources would change if the Northwest were to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.


Health Impacts Analysis

The NZNW Health Impacts analysis looks at the impact of reducing pollutant emissions and finds that if the region were to achieve net-zero emissions based on the least-cost pathway set out in the NZNW Energy Pathways Core Case, Northwest residents would experience fewer deaths, fewer days of work lost, and fewer hospital admissions attributed to annual pollutant reductions.

The health and economic impacts for the Northwest include:

  • Health benefits range from 15 to 33 avoided deaths per million people in 2030 and 18 to 40 avoided deaths per million people in 2050.

  • Economic benefits include economy-wide savings that range from $2.8 billion to $6.2 billion per year in 2030 and $4 billion to $8.9 billion per year in 2050.

Explore how reducing tailpipe and smokestack emissions would impact health in the Northwest.


Workforce Analysis

The NZNW Workforce analysis examines the jobs that would be created or displaced if the Northwest were to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, as modeled in the NZNW Energy Pathways analysis. In November 2023, CETI released regional results, followed by state-specific analyses in April 2024.

Between 2021-2030, the region's energy jobs would grow in the following ways:

  • Electricity sector jobs grow by 43%, driven by increases in land-based wind, transmission, distribution, and solar.
  • Despite job displacement in fossil fuel subsectors, the Fuels sector experiences a net increase due to hydrogen and biofuels employment growth.
  • Buildings sector employment grows substantially as energy efficiency and building electrification and decarbonization efforts ramp up.
  • Transportation employment experiences a slight net increase, reflecting net job growth in three subsectors—vehicle maintenance, wholesale trade parts, and charging stations—and net job loss in two declining subsectors—conventional fueling stations and vehicle manufacturing.

In all sectors, it is critical to promote strategies that ensure job quality is a priority in the transition to a clean energy economy.

EXPLORE Workforce