Biden’s spending plan could change big swaths of Colorado employment

Local News

DENVER (KDVR) — New federal energy plans could have a big impact on Colorado’s employment.

President Joe Biden was in Colorado on Tuesday to address the state about climate change and renewable energy from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Arvada.

Part of Biden’s spending plan includes widespread subsidies for electric vehicles, renewables and energy grid development, among other things. His administration emphasizes that the president wants to create jobs with these focuses.

One way or another, these plans will affect Colorado’s energy-heavy employment sector. They could add to a growing number of clean energy jobs, but if policies start to hinder oil and gas production, they could end up destroying many jobs as well.

Colorado has a heavy traditional energy employment section with 92,586 jobs overall — 2.7% of the nation’s total energy employment, according to the U.S. Energy and Employment Report.

The biggest section of this employment is in fuel extraction.

There were 38,708 Colorado jobs in this field in 2020. The majority of these jobs concern fossil fuels: oil and petroleum, natural gas and coal.

Colorado employs 30,000 in these three industry subtypes — twice the number of people who work in solar and wind.

Employers had predicted that these jobs would grow in number, as well. The energy employers surveyed predicted a 6.5% growth in traditional energy jobs in the next year.

Clean energy production, however, is also a major employment force in Colorado.

In 2020, clean energy non-profit E2 tallied 58,182 clean energy jobs in Colorado.

The majority are not the kind of infrastructure jobs the president’s bill details, but in energy efficiency: home weatherproofing and HVAC installation, among others.

Smaller but sizable portions of Colorado clean energy employment are in solar or wind electrical energy generation, but these jobs could already be considered in the traditional energy sphere.

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