How would existing and future jobs in the four Northwest states change if the region were on the path to net-zero emissions? 

The NZNW Workforce analysis is the Northwest’s first comprehensive clean energy workforce analysis. The study examined the jobs to be created or displaced in each Northwest state if the region were to achieve net-zero emissions, as modeled in the NZNW Energy Pathways analysis, by occupation and industry in the buildings, fuels, electricity, and transportation sectors.

In November 2023, CETI released regional findings. In April 2024, CETI added state-specific results, which are discussed below.

All Northwest States Stand to Gain Jobs with Clean Energy Transition

On the path to net-zero emissions by 2050, all four Northwest states experience net job growth by 2030, with the following key trends emerging in each sector: 

  • Electricity: Using clean electricity to decarbonize as many sectors as possible is key to a low-carbon future. As renewables emerge as sources of electricity generation, fossil fuel generation subsectors experience net decreases in employment. At the same time, there is significantly more growth in renewable electricity capacity and related activities to meet growing demand for electricity, leading to significant net growth in Electricity sector workforce in all four states. While all four states experience net growth in the electricity sector, Montana’s high-capacity factor wind resources contribute to the state’s Electricity workforce more than doubling by 2030, largely jobs supporting Land-Based Wind, Distribution, and Transmission subsectors.
  • Fuels: Unlike many parts of the country, projected job growth in clean fuel subsectors (Hydrogen and Biofuels) outpaces losses in fossil fuel subsectors by 2030 in Idaho, Montana, and Washington. While most production of hydrogen and hydrogen-derived fuels occurs in Montana to take advantage of the state’s high-quality wind resources, Idaho and Washington also experience net job growth in the Fuels sector as a result from the early development of a Northwest clean fuels industry. The NZNW Energy Pathways-Clean Fuels analysis showed clean fuels developing later in Oregon than the rest of the Northwest, and while Oregon’s Hydrogen and Biofuels jobs grow along with the rest of the Northwest, this growth is not projected to offset decreases in the state’s fossil fuel subsector jobs by 2030.
  • Buildings: By 2030, all Northwest states experience employment growth in the Buildings sector ranging from 21%-27% as all subsectors experience growth with energy efficiency and building electrification and decarbonization efforts ramping up.
  • Transportation: By 2030, Transportation employment decreases slightly in Oregon and Montana and increases slightly in Idaho and Washington. These changes reflect the complexity of the vehicle stock transition as there is projected job growth when large numbers of both internal combustion engine vehicles and electric vehicles are on the road, but job decline as electric vehicles (which also require less maintenance), take over and supplant the need for conventional fueling stations.

The following figure shows energy employment results from this analysis, with the option to filter by sector on the right. Below the figure, you will find Key Findings, reports, and data for each state. You can also explore the Workforce Regional Analysis Key Findings to learn about the key themes from a Northwest perspective. To explore more sector-specific interactive figures, click on any of the sectors in 'More Results' section below.

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