In a Smart Grid Jobs Report released Jan. 6 by the GridWise Alliance, it is estimated that up to 280,000 new jobs can be created directly from the deployment of smart grid technologies. The report explains that federal investment in a smart grid could act as a catalyst for these planned and immediate direct jobs, as well as spawn many indirect jobs.

The Smart Grid Jobs Report was written by GridWise member company KEMA Inc. In addition to the 280,000 direct jobs, the report notes that a smart grid will drive a substantial number of indirect jobs as it enables the deployment of new technologies, such as plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, distributed renewable energy resources (solar, smart appliances, home automation software and hardware) and wind energy generation. The report does not quantify the number of these indirect jobs. To view the full report visit www.gridwise.org.

“Increasingly, a smart grid is seen as a key enabler for the new energy economy and as such, is foundational for the millions of ‘green collar jobs’ President-elect Obama is aiming for,” said Guido Bartels, GridWise Alliance chairman and IBM's general manager of Global Energy & Utilities Industry.

The report projects that a US$16 billion federal investment in smart incentives over the next four years would drive $64 billion in smart grid-related projects, resulting in approximately 280,000 new direct positions across various categories.

“Over 150,000 of these jobs would be created by the end of 2009, and nearly 140,000 newly created high-value positions would become permanent after a smart grid deployment,” explained Ralph Masiello, senior vice president, Energy Systems Consulting, KEMA Inc.

“We know first-hand that a smart grid allows our electric infrastructure to be more reliable, resilient and secure. There is also a growing consensus that a smart grid is one of the critical and necessary enablers for optimizing renewable resources, maximizing energy efficiency and unleashing the potential of distributed energy storage technologies,” said Katherine Hamilton, president of the GridWise Alliance.

President-elect Obama and key Senate and House leaders have frequently mentioned a smart grid as an economic and infrastructure booster. The GridWise Alliance, with 70 members from across the energy value chain, believes that a smart grid is essential to achieving goals for integrating energy from renewable resources and energy-efficiency technologies.

“A smart grid will enable a transformed electric supply sector and related job creation; incentivize a strong domestic market for U.S. smart grid technology firms; and create high-value, permanent positions in the energy economy,” concludes Hamilton.