Energy Efficiency and Jobs: National Grid Shows How it’s Done in Rhode Island

Nov. 14, 2013
We hear all the time about energy efficiency and jobs. Now National Grid has documented exactly how many jobs it has generated through its energy saving investments in Rhode Island. Here’s data from the report that shows job creation, utility contractors and consumer benefits.

Credit: New England Energy Council Institute

National Grid’s energy efficiency effort generated the equivalent of 528 full-time jobs last year in beleaguered Rhode Island, a state with one of the highest unemployment rates in the country, says a recent study.

Total payroll was $27,181,115 and average annual earnings $51,410 per job, according to the study commissioned by National Grid from the New England Clean Energy Council Institute.

Job creation – important everywhere –  is especially crucial in Rhode Island where 9.1 percent of the workforce is unemployed.

National Grid is frequently credited for being one of the largest utility investors in energy efficiency in the US. The utility invested $83 million in Rhode Island energy efficiency initiatives for 2012.

Most of the jobs, more than 300, emerged from undertakings designed to save electricity, rather than natural gas. Electrical efficiency for commercial and industrial businesses generated most of the work, more than 185 jobs, followed by about 98 jobs from residential projects and about 20 from low-income programs, according to the report.

Installers made up most of the workers – auditors, electricians, plumbers, HVAC techs, weatherization workers, and related trade and professional workers. Others were trainers and educators, marketing professionals, engineers and project design specialists, rebate processors, and the like. The report also counted customer support, administrative, finance, IT, and management staff in the job total.

The utility contracts with outside companies to handle installations and other work. In all, 598 companies and agencies were involved in last year’s RI energy efficiency effort, about 71 percent of them based in the state. (The report lists the companies.)

“For more than twenty-five years Rhode Island has led the way in creating innovative energy efficiency programs that have cut our customers’ energy costs and benefited our environment,” said Timothy Horan, president of National Grid in Rhode Island. “Now we have data to prove energy efficiency is helping to drive the state’s economy.”

RI consumers also are expected to see a direct financial gain from the programs in the form of energy bill savings. Over 10 to 14 years, this amounts to about $86 million saved on electricity and $28.2 million saved on natural gas, according to the study.

The programs are funded through a charge on monthly electric and natural gas bills. More than 213,000 Rhode Island customers received energy efficiency incentives and rebates offered by the utility.

Do you have ideas to share about energy efficiency and jobs? Please tell us on our new LinkedIn group, Energy Efficiency Markets.

About the Author

Elisa Wood | Editor-in-Chief

Elisa Wood is an award-winning writer and editor who specializes in the energy industry. She is chief editor and co-founder of Microgrid Knowledge and serves as co-host of the publication’s popular conference series. She also co-founded, where she continues to lead a team of energy writers who produce content for energy companies and advocacy organizations.

She has been writing about energy for more than two decades and is published widely. Her work can be found in prominent energy business journals as well as mainstream publications. She has been quoted by NPR, the Wall Street Journal and other notable media outlets.

“For an especially readable voice in the industry, the most consistent interpreter across these years has been the energy journalist Elisa Wood, whose Microgrid Knowledge (and conference) has aggregated more stories better than any other feed of its time,” wrote Malcolm McCullough, in the book, Downtime on the Microgrid, published by MIT Press in 2020.

Twitter: @ElisaWood

LinkedIn: Elisa Wood

Facebook:  Microgrids