Seeking Proof that Energy Efficiency Creates Jobs? Ask the U.S. Department of Energy

Aside from energy efficiency being the least-cost energy resource, a common argument used to support programs is that they create jobs and keep ratepayer dollars in-state. This argument seems at least intuitively correct, since it takes bodies in the field — or perhaps more appropriately, in attics and basements — to install energy savings measures.

But if energy efficiency creates so many jobs, where is the evidence?

In March of this year, the United States Department of Energy (U.S. DOE) released its first annual United States Energy and Employment Report. The report represents a first step in fulfilling recommendations of the Quadrennial Energy Review that the U.S. DOE establish an interagency working group to reform data collection systems and provide consistent and complete definition and quantification of energy jobs across all sectors of the economy.

Supplementing data collected by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics with surveys of more than 20,000 U.S. businesses engaged in more than 150 industries, the report captures direct jobs supported by the electric power generation, transmission and distribution, transportation, and energy efficiency sectors (et al.).

The table below captures the findings of the report by census region in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic. In New England, energy efficiency is responsible for 130,000 direct jobs, more than every other part of the energy industry, combined. In the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic as a whole, energy efficiency is responsible for more than 300,000 direct jobs.


Energy Efficiency Jobs By State











































The report utilizes an Energy Employment Index developed and refined through years of clean energy industry reports in Massachusetts, Vermont, and Rhode Island. The table to the right describes the energy efficiency jobs in each of these reports.

For further information on the incremental job impacts of energy efficiency programs, we encourage readers to review NEEP’s Regional Energy Efficiency Database (REED), which serves as a regional platform for consistent reporting of energy efficiency program impacts in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic. REED contain figures for reported incremental job impacts, energy savings, cost of saved energy, and program funding sources (et al.) and is freely available for public use.


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