A new study concludes that five emerging clean-tech industry sectors offer the Pacific Northwest one of the best opportunities for sustained economic vitality and job growth. It also charts the course for private and public investment and leadership to capitalize on the opportunity.
Carbon-Free Prosperity 2025 is produced by two leading clean-tech organizations — research and publishing firm Clean Edge and research and advocacy organization Climate Solutions. The study provides a comprehensive look at emerging green industries that are projected to provide high-paying jobs and a vital new economic base for the region. It provides a grounded and realistic view of the region’s potential role in an increasingly competitive global clean-tech industry. The report can be downloaded at www.cleanedge.com and www.climatesolutions.org.
The study focuses on five clean-energy sectors that provide the best opportunities for Oregon and Washington to build a leadership position in intellectual capital and job creation. They are:
- Solar PV Manufacturing, which is projected to provide up to 22,560 new jobs in the region by 2025
- Wind Power Development, expected to reach up to 6,000 new jobs
- Green Building Design Services, creator of up to 16,834 new jobs
- Sustainable Bioenergy, which could account for 10,419 new jobs
- Smart-Grid Technologies, an industry that could create up to 7,000 new jobs.
In all, the study find these industries have the potential to create more than 63,000 new jobs in the Pacific Northwest by 2025 — a figure that matches the employment in Silicon Forest during its height as a chip manufacturing center. The growth of these clean-tech sectors would position the region as a leader in the dramatic global shift toward cleaner and more efficient forms of energy, transportation, and building systems that reduce pollution and reliance on volatile imported fossil fuels.
The report provides an objective accounting of the region’s assets and challenges, and provides a 10-point action plan for Oregon and Washington that includes:
- Limiting and reducing global warming pollution by putting a price on carbon
- Ramping up public investment in clean technology funds
- Passing leading edge green building codes
- Deploying clean energy workforce development strategies
- Providing effective clean energy tax credits
- Building a 21st century smart grid.
“Clean energy is increasingly identified as the sector with the largest growth potential in the U.S. economy, and offers the best promise of meeting the twin challenges of economic and environmental decline,” said Ron Pernick, Clean Edge cofounder and managing director and report coauthor. “This report is a case study for how the Pacific Northwest region can seize a leadership role in the clean-tech economy.”
Carbon-Free Prosperity 2025 lauds the Pacific Northwest for its green lifestyle, proactive policies, strong natural resource base, and abundant cheap electricity as attributes that give the region a head start in the quest for a strong clean-energy economy. But the report also urges action on cultivating more venture capital in the region, updating energy grid infrastructure, grooming managerial talent for growing clean-tech companies, and developing a comprehensive economic-development strategy for the region.
“To spark a real economic recovery, we need to repower America, and this region should be at the forefront,” said Rhys Roth, Climate Solutions' Director of Strategic Innovation. “This report is a blueprint for how the region can become a global leader in clean technology – creating family-supporting jobs, regaining control of our energy future, and delivering real climate solutions.”
The study is based on interviews with more than 50 industry, financial, and policy experts in the Northwest, and leverages proprietary Clean Edge data on market sizing, employment figures, and other key market factors.