Pacific Northwest Could Create 63,000 Green Jobs by 2025

Oregon and Washington state could create more than 63,000 new cleantech jobs over the next decade and a half, in industries like solar manufacturing, wind development, smart-grid technology, and green building design, according to a report out from researchers at Clean Edge and Climate Solutions. The tens of thousands of green jobs will help cement the region’s position as one of the leading cleantech hubs in the U.S., but more policies and incentives are needed, says the report.

Oregon and Washington need to put a price on carbon, boost public investment in cleantech funds, cultivate more venture capital, pass green building code standards, and invest in a smart grid to reach these goals, says the report. The two are actually already among the most progressive in the U.S. when it comes to green incentives — both states have renewable portfolio standards, with Oregon calling for 25 percent clean power by 2025, and Washington shooting for 15 percent by 2020.

Oregon also boasts the Oregon’s Business Energy Tax Credit (BETC), which offers tax credits for up to 50 percent of renewable-energy and energy-efficiency capital investments, capped at $20 million. (Full lists of incentives in Oregon and Washington are available here.)

Solar photovoltaic manufacturing alone could provide 22,560 new jobs to the region. On that front, Oregon’s BETC is already working and has helped attract four solar manufacturers to the state over the past year and a half, including SolarWorld, Solaicx, Sun Silicon and — most recently — Sanyo.

In an economic climate that’s causing fears of a recession and lost jobs, the green job trend is offering a rare area of growth. A variety of states and cities (like San Jose and San Francisco) are offering cleantech companies aggressive incentives to set up shop in their areas.