Group pushes for clean-energy stimulus, as fast-growing industry is hit hard by pandemic | KNKX

Group pushes for clean-energy stimulus, as fast-growing industry is hit hard by pandemic

Oct 26, 2020

The clean energy sector was one of the fastest growing parts of the economy before the pandemic, and it’s been one of the hardest hit. But researchers say jobs in energy efficiency or solar or wind power are still some of the best paid.

A new report called “Clean Jobs, Better Jobs” shows hourly wages for that work pay about 25 percent more than the national median wage.

Zach Amittay is an advocate with E2, the group that put out the report.

“When we surveyed employers in the state, they expected employment in the clean energy space to grow by 5 percent, which would have been very impressive,” Amittay said.

In Washington, the median clean energy wage is just over $25 — the sixth highest in the country. That’s about 10 percent above the state’s median wage. Before COVID, the state had about 85,000 clean energy jobs — mostly in energy efficiency — compared with 70,000 in traditional energy from fossil fuels. E2 says about 20,000 jobs in clean energy in Washington have been lost to the pandemic.

E2 is pushing for a $99 billion stimulus package, Amittay says, “at the federal level, but also at the state level to help get this central part of the economy back on track.”

His group says stimulus to get the sector going again will pay dividends.

“Investing in the clean energy economy isn't just about building towards a low carbon future and a sustainable future, but it's also about investing in good paying jobs that pay better than the median wage across the country,” he said.