By Eric Tegethoff, Oregon News Service
PORTLAND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The clean energy sector is a major jobs provider in Oregon, according to a new report.
Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2), which describes itself as a national, nonpartisan business group, finds more than 55,000 Oregonians have clean energy jobs - about 60% of all energy jobs in the state.
The numbers include more than 42,000 in energy efficiency and 7,300 in renewable energy - led by solar and wind.
By comparison, the fossil fuel industry employs about 1,400 Oregonians.
Andy Wunder, E2's western states advocate, says Oregon's clean energy policies are driving this growth.
"Smart public policy, smart clean energy policy can really create the markets necessary to facilitate investment flows into these categories and really drive the job growth that this report is highlighting," he states.
The report says 50% of clean jobs are outside of the Portland metro area, including about 10,600 in rural parts of the state.
While it commands a large sector of the energy economy, the E2 report finds Oregon was one of the only states where clean energy employment grew slower than statewide employment in 2018.
Wunder says the battle over Oregon's carbon cap-and-trade policy in the legislature could be hindering clean energy growth.
"The multi-year impasse with the Legislature failing to pass cap-and-invest has created uncertainty that has really slowed investment in clean energy jobs in Oregon," he states.
According to the analysis, there are clean energy jobs in all 36 Oregon counties.