Pandemic costs Washington 17,000 clean-energy jobs

More than 80% of those workers remain unemployed

By Nat Rubio-Licht November 24, 2020

View on the rooftop solar power plant with two engineers walking and examining photovoltaic panels. Concept of alternative energy and its service

More than 17,000 jobs in Washington state’s clean-energy industry were lost due to the pandemic, a report by Environmental Entrepreneurs, or E2, found.

Job loss in the sector since the start of the pandemic through October accounts for 19% of its workforce and five times the sector’s growth since 2017, according to the Clean Jobs Washington 2020 report. Around 81% of those who lost their job in the energy sector due to the pandemic are still out of work.

Prior to the pandemic, the clean-energy sector employed more than 85,000 people in the state and had experienced steady growth, adding 1,300 jobs in 2019.

Before 2020, the clean-energy sector provided 55% of energy-related jobs in the state, and 11 times more jobs than the fossil fuel industry, according to the report. Washington ranked No. 13 for clean-energy employment by the end of 2019, as well.

While these are challenging times for many in the sector, this reports findings are still clear: Our states present and future is increasingly being powered by clean energy, and thats good news for our environment, our economy, and our workforce, says Mark Liffman, founder and CEO of Seattle-based Omnidian and E2 Member.

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