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Clean energy job creation in Mountain West varies widely by state

This is an image of a giant wind turbine being lowered by a crane. A man is standing in a bucket truck that's raised up to the turbine.
Dennis Schroeder
National Renewable Energy Lab
Engineers and technicians lower the blades off of a wind turbine in order to install new blades at the National Renewable Energy Lab’s wind technology center in Golden, Colorado.

A new report shows the U.S. has created more than 170,000 clean energy jobs since Congress passed the Inflation Reduction Act in August 2022. In the Mountain West, job creation by state is all over the map.

Nevada has created 11,500 new clean energy jobs, ranking seventh in the nation, according to a report by Climate Power. The organization, which advocates for bold climate action, analyzed clean energy projects that have broken ground or been announced over the past year. Kansas ranked first overall with 20,600 jobs created.

In Nevada, the growth is led by jobs in manufacturing batteries for electric vehicles, followed by jobs in mining for lithium, a key component in those batteries.

The state’s new clean energy projects have also generated more than $9 billion in investments, which ranks 10th in the nation.

Howard Watts, a Democratic state legislator from Las Vegas, said the Biden administration’s clean energy plan has boosted Nevada’s economy.

He added that the plan has also moved the state “closer to hitting some of the goals that we have for increasing clean energy, reducing greenhouse gas emissions in our state, and creating good-paying jobs along the way.”

Two other states in the Mountain West cracked the top 20. Colorado (16th) has created 3,500 new jobs, mainly in wind and solar power projects. Idaho (19th) has created 2,000 jobs in manufacturing microchips for a range of uses, from electric cars to data centers.

Rounding out the region, Wyoming (25th) has 1,000 new jobs in wind power, Utah (29th) has 800 jobs in manufacturing microchips, and New Mexico (37th) has 305 new jobs in wind power and electric grids.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Nevada Public Radio, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUNR in Nevada, KUNC in Colorado and KANW in New Mexico, with support from affiliate stations across the region. Funding for the Mountain West News Bureau is provided in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Kaleb is an award-winning journalist and KUNR’s Mountain West News Bureau reporter. His reporting covers issues related to the environment, wildlife and water in Nevada and the region.
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