Transmission and Jobs

Transmission and Jobs

Michael Goggin

July 27, 2020

To build 100 GW worth of transmission delivery capacity, we would need to build about $75 billion in transmission infrastructure. That would create around 600,000 direct jobs and 1.5 million direct, indirect, and induced jobs. That construction would create around 27 direct jobs and 67 direct, indirect, and induced jobs per mile of transmission line, based on the above estimate of 21,667 miles.

That estimate is based on the results of following five studies that used economic input-output models to evaluate the direct and indirect job creation benefits of transmission construction. These results indicate HVDC (DC) projects create around 4 direct jobs per $1 million of expenditure and 11.3 direct, indirect, and induced jobs, while AC projects create around 11.5 direct jobs per $1 million of expenditure and 27 direct, indirect, and induced jobs.

AC or DCConstruction direct job-years/$1 millionConstruction direct, indirect, and induced job-years/$1 million
AC[1]9 to 1419 to 35
AC + DC[2]11.72NA
AC + DC[3]4.2512.5
DC[4]3 to 4NA
DC[5]5.0511.30

The above estimates do not account for the job creation from the wind and solar deployment enabled by the transmission investment. With 100 GW of transmission capacity likely enabling around 130-180 GW of renewable deployment, at a rate of 4 direct jobs per renewable MW and 10.64 direct and indirect jobs per renewable MW,[6] the renewable capacity enabled by this transmission investment would yield between 520,000 and 720,000 direct jobs and between 1.4 and 1.9 million direct and indirect jobs. Transmission investment also creates jobs by providing American industries and businesses with access to low-cost, reliable electricity. 


[1] https://cdn.misoenergy.org/Economic%20Impact%20of%20MTEP%20In-Service%20Projects271136.pdf

[2] https://register.extension.iastate.edu/images/events/transgridx/Economic-Benefits-and-Job-Creation-from-the-Interconnection.pdf

[3]https://brattlefiles.blob.core.windows.net/files/6534_employment_and_economic_benefits_of_transmission_infrastructure_investmt_pfeifenberger_hou_may_2011_wires.pdf

[4] http://www.remi.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/WIRES-modeling_0501_final-v3.pdf

[5] https://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy11osti/50577.pdf

[6] https://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/12/1/45/.pdf, at page 16, showing 4.03 direct and 10.64 direct and indirect jobs per MW of wind capacity; and https://resources.solarbusinesshub.com/images/reports/206.pdf, at page 30, showing 3.3 installation and development jobs/MW for utility-scale solar, rounded up to 4 jobs/MW to account for manufacturing and other supply chain jobs.


-Michael Goggin is the Vice President of Grid Strategies.

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