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Columbia Energy Exchange

David Foster: Outlook for Energy Jobs in U.S.

The U.S. is undergoing a boom in energy production as oil, natural gas and renewable energy set records for output, and electric utilities increasingly shift to cleaner fuels for power generation.
So, what does this mean for jobs in energy sectors that are flourishing as well as some that are not?
In this edition of the Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless talks to David Foster, the author of the newly released “U.S.
Energy and Employment Report 2019.” It’s the product of the Energy Futures Initiative, a Washington-based think tank headed by former U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, and the National Association of State Energy Officials.
The report, previously compiled by the U.S. Department of Energy, looks at employment in 2018 in five sectors: fuels; electric power generation; transmission, distribution and storage; energy
efficiency; and motor vehicles. And it compares those numbers with those of the previous year.
As Bill and David discuss, the findings are generally positive, showing, for example, that employment in the traditional energy sectors, like fuels, electric power, and transmission, distribution
and storage, as well as energy efficiency, increased 2.3% in 2018, adding almost 152,000 jobs, nearly 7% of all new jobs nationwide.
This comes as the U.S. energy system continues to experience an evolution in which market forces, new technology, tax policy, and declining federal regulation affect the changing profile of the
energy workforce.
David Foster is a distinguished associate at the Energy Futures Initiative, and previously was a senior adviser to Secretary Moniz from 2014 to 2017, where he designed the report when it was
done at DOE.
Before that, he was the founding executive director of the BlueGreen Alliance, a partnership of unions and environmental organizations, and director of a United Steelworkers district covering
13 states. Now, he also sits on the boards of Kaiser Aluminum and Oregon Steel Mills.
The talk is timely as Washington and the rest of the U.S. grapple over the best way to address climate change, with the Green New Deal attracting so much attention.

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