News Releases

Murray Introduces Clean Energy Jobs Bill to Support Washington State Companies, Workers

Jul 22 2010

“Clean Energy Works Act” builds on Washington state’s strengths; helps prepare workers for clean energy careers

(Washington, D.C.) – Today U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) introduced the “Clean Energy Works Act,” a new bill to help clean energy companies and workers in Washington state and across the country innovate, grow, and create jobs. The bill expands the State Energy Program that has been so successful in helping clean energy companies in Washington state. It makes a substantial investment in national clean energy research. And it invests in worker training to make sure clean energy companies have the workers they need to grow, and companies that want to reduce their energy consumption have the trained staff they need to save money and protect the environment. 

“Washington state is already a leader in the clean energy economy and the Clean Energy Works Act will help our workers and businesses remain at the forefront of innovation and job creation,” said Senator Patty Murray. “The Clean Energy Works Act invests in research, in businesses, and in innovation. And it will help make sure that businesses across the country have access to a workforce that is trained and ready to fill the clean energy jobs we are working to create. As a nation, we need to end our dependence on foreign oil and make sure clean energy jobs are created right here in America.”

Murray’s bill expands the State Energy Program that is successfully helping businesses and creating jobs in Washington state.  The Clean Energy Works Act would increase Washington state’s allocation for this program from $500,000 to up to approximately $30 million annually.

“The State Energy Program has been instrumental in helping Washington engage our private sector to accelerate the clean energy transition in our state and create job growth,” said Rogers Weed, Director, Washington State Department of Commerce “Senator Murray’s legislation will help Washington state build on our current foundation and will keep Washington moving toward a clean energy economy.”

“Senator Murray again has taken a leadership role in pushing for practical solutions to the challenges we face with regards to reducing our nation’s dependence on fossil fuels and promoting clean technology innovation and workforce development,” said Steve Klein, General Manager, Snohomish County Public Utility District. “She understands the basic foundational elements that need to be nurtured such as education and training as well as technological advancement.  Senator Murray’s proposed legislation will be a catalyst for real progress at this critical time to create the skilled workforce, the new jobs and secure the overarching clean technology economic development potential that has yet to be fully realized.”

“Farm Power was thrilled to be chosen for a State Energy Program grant, and our anaerobic digester project is creating jobs and pumping sustainable investment in Washington’s economy,” said Kevin Maas, Farm Power.  “We are pleased that Senator Murray’s legislation will allow more companies like ours to be a part of this important program.”

Murray’s bill will also help local communities and businesses train workers to fill the jobs being created in the clean energy industry.

"This bill would greatly aid states and local communities in preparing the future clean energy workforce, helping to provide jobs and reduce carbon emissions at the same time," said Eleni Papadakis, Executive Director, Washington State Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board

Summary of the Clean Energy Works Act:

Encouraging Innovation to Create Clean Technologies

  • State Energy Program:
    • Requires states who receive State Energy Program funds to use one-third of those funds to provide grants and loans for renewable energy development, to energy technology companies and to promote energy efficiency.
    • Changes existing funding allocation formula from existing basis on energy consumption to energy savings.
    • Substantial authorization increase to $1.5 billion per year (would mean $20-30 million for WA, which currently receives $500,000)
  • Advanced Research Project Agency – Energy (ARPA-E): Reauthorizes ARPA-E, increases authorization to $1 billion per year.  ARPA-E funds high-risk, high value, potential “game changing” proposals for low carbon energy technologies.

Preparing A Clean Energy Workforce

  • Regional Energy Alliance Skills Grants:  Competitive grants to producers of low-carbon producing energy industries (such as solar, wind, hydro, biomass, nuclear, etc.) in states or multi-state regions to educate, train, hire, and retain the skilled workers they need to grow their ability to provide energy at scale.
  • Regional Industry Energy Efficiency Grants: Competitive grants to industries that are high energy consumers (such as within manufacturing) to train or retrain workers to have the skills necessary to reduce their energy use through the use of new equipment, new practices, or other means.
  • Customized Renewable Energy Training Grants: Competitive grants to single companies either in the low-carbon producing energy industry, or an industry that supports such an industry, to provide the training necessary to have the skilled workforce to be competitive.  These grants need individual company needs, especially to companies that may not be in a regional cluster of similar companies in an industry.