The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release
Marta Stoepker,, 313.977.0054

While Trump Attempts to Cut Clean Power Plan, Western States and Cities Expected to Move Forward on Clean Energy Growth

Over 820,000 people in the West work in clean energy, more than coal and gas combined


Today, the Trump Administration issued an executive order gutting President Obama's Clean Power Plan (background below), which cuts climate altering pollution by asking states to set clean energy generation goals.

Western states are already running homes and businesses with clean, renewable energy and many are on track to surpass what the Clean Power Plan outlines while keeping energy bills low. Most states have clean energy goals in place as a way to create jobs, reduce energy bills and cut damaging pollution. According to a Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory report on renewable portfolio standards (RPS), states have collectively met 95% of clean energy targets in the past few years. The same report states that the West leads and will continue to lead the nation in clean energy growth because of these goals. The West is also home to more cities and towns committed to 100 percent renewable energy than any other region in the United States.

The clean energy growth is impressive, and some states in the West-- California and Nevada-- are considering stronger clean energy standards this year. However, without a Clean Power Plan, some states may not set clean energy goals and therefore miss out on job creation, pollution reduction, greater grid security and revenue opportunities. The Clean Power Plan also promises investment in environmental justice by setting a baseline of support for frontline communities that might not be guaranteed on a state-by-state level.

"The Trump Administration promised to support the American worker, and yet he and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt have set a course to cut a plan that would grow the clean energy industry, which already employs hundreds of thousands of people in the West. Western states see the value of supporting this booming industry and the health, environmental and economic benefits it brings to communities. Families are saving money as energy efficiency is prioritized and clean energy comes online. Homeowners have greater energy freedom with rooftop solar. And battery storage is driving innovation and supporting a more reliable energy grid. Many states and cities in the West will continue to lead on clean energy because it makes economic sense and those states that tie their fate to Scott Pruitt's doomed strategy of delay and deny face an increasingly risky future," said Bill Corcoran, Western Campaign Director for the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal Campaign.

Below is an outline of how states in the west are doing on their clean energy goals and the clean energy jobs in each state. According to the Department of Energy, 825,305 people work in wind, solar, energy efficiency, storage and smart grid technology in the West. 75,086 work in gas and 29,513 in coal:

  • Alaska:
    • Renewable Portfolio Standard: In the 2009-2010, the Alaska legislature enacted House Bill 306 with the goal that "the state receive 50 percent of its electrical generation from renewable energy sources by 2025." However, this bill never became law. Meanwhile, Wind supplied nearly three-fourths of Alaska's electricity in 2015
    • Cities committed to 100% renewable energy: Kodiak Island
    • Clean energy jobs: 4,848
  • Arizona:
    • Renewable Portfolio Standard: 15% by 2025.
    • Clean energy jobs: 51,282
  • California:
    • Renewable Portfolio Standard: 50% by 2030
    • Legislation on the table: 50% clean energy by 2025 and 100% clean energy by 2045.
    • Cities committed to 100% renewable energy: San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Palo Alto, Del Mar. Los Angeles is mapping out a 100% clean energy future.
    • Clean energy jobs: 486,041
  • Colorado:
    • Renewable Portfolio Standard: 30% by 2020.
    • Cities committed to 100% renewable energy: Aspen,Boulder, Pueblo
    • Clean energy jobs: 45,921
  • Hawaii:
    • Renewable Portfolio Standard: 100% by 2045
    • Clean energy jobs: 10,743
  • Idaho:
    • In the absence of a Renewable Portfolio Standard, Idaho is building out clean energy generation. According to the Energy Information Administration, In 2015, 75% of Idaho's generation came from renewable energy resources, and Idaho was tied with West Virginia for the sixth lowest average electricity prices in the United States.
    • Clean energy jobs: 10,525
  • Montana:
    • Renewable Portfolio Standard: surpassed its 15% by 2025 goal in 2015
    • Clean energy jobs: 8,649
  • Nevada:
    • Renewable Portfolio Standard: 25% by 2025.
    • Legislation on the table: Bill introduced by Assemblyman Chris Brooks to increase RPS to 80% by 2040
    • Clean energy jobs: 20.752
  • New Mexico:
    • Renewable Portfolio Standard: 20% by 2020.
    • Cities committed to 100% renewable energy: Taos
    • Clean energy jobs: 9,441
  • Oregon:
    • Renewable Portfolio Standard: 50% by 2040
    • Clean energy jobs: 52,140
  • Utah:
    • Renewable Portfolio Standard: 20% by 2025, optional goal
    • Cities committed to 100% renewable energy: Salt Lake City, Park City, Moab
    • Clean energy jobs: 37,987
  • Washington:
    • Renewable Portfolio Standard: Initiative 937, passed in 2006, set a goal of 15% renewable energy by 2020. That goal was met in 2014.
    • Clean energy jobs: 74,387
  • Wyoming:
    • In the absence of a Renewable Portfolio Standard, Wyoming is building out clean energy generation. In 2015, clean energy represented 11% of its energy production.
    • Clean energy jobs: 7,864

Background on Clean Power Plan

The Clean Power Plan would speed this transition and protect public health by curbing dangerous carbon pollution and reducing other toxic pollutants like mercury, nitrous oxide, and sulfur dioxide. The EPA has estimated that, by 2030, the Clean Power Plan would prevent 150,000 asthma attacks and up to 6,600 premature deaths annually, providing between $55 billion to $93 billion of benefits per year. These climate and health benefits far outweigh the estimated annual costs of the plan, which are only $7.3 billion to $8.8 billion in 2030.

EPA also projects that in 2030 when the plan is fully implemented, electricity bills would be roughly 8 percent lower than they would been without the actions in state plans. That would save Americans about $8 on an average monthly residential electricity bill.

The Sierra Club is the most enduring and influential grassroots environmental organization in the United States. We amplify the power of our 3.8 million members and supporters to defend everyone's right to a healthy world.

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