Climate Action: Waiting for the Electricians, or Someone Like Them

November 18, 2022

Washington Post:

Over the past several years, the mantra of energy experts has been that we need to electrify everything — and then switch electrical power generation over to clean sources of power like wind, solar, geothermal and nuclear. Doing so will rapidly decrease carbon emissions and help to stave off dangerous levels of warming.

But installing all of that electrical stuff — the solar panels, the heat pumps, the transmission lines — will require something that the United States doesn’t have: lots and lots of electricians.

According to the nonprofit group Rewiring America, which focuses on electrification, shifting the economy away from fossil fuels will require no fewer than 1 billion new electrical appliances, cars and other items in American households alone.

“It’s a billion machines that need to be installed or replaced over the next 25 years across 121 million homes,” said Ari Matusiak, the CEO of Rewiring America. “There need to be significantly more individuals who are trained to install these machines — and one subset of that is electricians who are trained to put in breaker boxes, wire our homes, and connect devices to our electric sources.”

The problem is that many in the industry say the country is already in a state of electrician shortage — one that could get worse as clean energy ramps up. “We’re in an electrician shortage now,” said Sam Steyer, the president and CEO of Greenwork, a start-up that tries to connect clean energy workers with companies. Steyer says that homeowners attempting to install heat pumps or electric car chargers have already reported problems finding certified tradespeople to do the work that they need: Waiting lists sometimes stretch on for months.


One Response to “Climate Action: Waiting for the Electricians, or Someone Like Them”

  1. Brent Jensen-Schmidt Says:

    This is an example of multiple present and future problems. Real and to be addressed! When the state of South Australia went for massive PV, the installation wait was months with various components months apart. Many workers became quick at installation then became ‘unemployed’ when the market saturated. ( Was not real bad, just an example. )

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