According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), average annual investments in energy efficiency will need to more than double to $777 billion during the 2021-2030 period from the 2016-2020 period. If met, these investments would provide 16 percent of the emissions reductions needed by 2030 to stay on target for a net-zero future. The connection between renewables, reliability and energy efficiency is undeniable and investors are taking notice. An increase in energy efficiency investments is good for business and the environment. But before the money even rolls in, energy efficiency faces a new challenge.
“More than 84% of energy efficiency businesses are reporting difficulty in finding employees,” said Phil Jordan, vice president at BW Research Partnership. Currently, the energy efficiency sector employs more people than any other sector in the industry. The energy efficiency workforce grew by over 2 percent last year, well beyond original projections.
“Federal, state and local policies can help strengthen workforce development and apprenticeship programs for the energy efficiency sector,” said Jordan of BW Research Partnership, which conducted and compiled the research. What does the roadmap look like and how quickly can state and federal officials put policies in place to reinforce workforce development for the energy efficiency sector? Will it be soon enough?
“By passing policies that speed up building decarbonization and electrification, we can create even more of these savings and jobs, while simultaneously reducing emissions and the impacts of climate change,” said Bob Keefe, executive director of the national nonpartisan business group E2.
Earlier this week, Wallet Hub released the Most & Least Energy-Efficient States in 2023. How are the states topping the list identifying, developing and the retaining their energy efficiency workforce? What strategies can other states adopt to create and fill local energy efficiency jobs?