Charging buildings for electric vehicles can create good jobs

Photo by Dennis Schroeder / NREL

A booming clean energy economy is a lingering bright spot in the pandemic economy, employing hundreds of thousands of Americans. Building the infrastructure network needed to charge electric vehicles (EVs) on a scale needed to dramatically reduce pollution caused by local and global warming means even more careers in clean energy. A new analysis informed by industry experts has calculated the jobs supported by state and national recharging infrastructure goals and reveals:

  • The charging infrastructure needed to meet California’s electric vehicle targets could support approximately 71,500 job-years over the next decade.
  • If the Biden administration’s goal of deploying 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations is met with public fast-charging stations, that could support around 30,000 years of employment.

The message is clear: if you want jobs, electrify transportation. However, not all jobs are created equal. Nor is labor likely to be equitably distributed. Deliberate policies are needed to ensure the quality of jobs and accessible channels between priority communities and skilled, well-paid and upwardly mobile careers.

For example, it is now the law of the land in Nevada and California that charging stations that receive public funding or utilities must be installed by electricians who have completed the certification of the Vehicle Infrastructure Training Program. electric. This also helps to ensure that high power electrical equipment is installed safely.

Numbers don’t lie

To get an idea of ​​the number and type of jobs supported by the building load infrastructure, the table below allows you to calculate the number of working days created per job function for a given number of chargers. An essential distinction is made between “Level 2” and “DC Fast” chargers, which refers to their power, and therefore to their charging speed. Level 2 load, which uses the same type of 240 volt wiring as clothes dryers, is best suited for places where vehicles are parked for several hours (such as homes, workplaces, or parking garages) . Fast direct current (“DC”) chargers can get a driver back on the road faster (15 to 30 minutes depending on power level and battery). While these chargers have similar job creation potential, the higher power and complexity of a DC Fast charger requires more electricians.

These estimates are based on actual charging installations. Most “DC Fast” charging stations in operation today are less powerful (and slower) than the more powerful stations the industry is moving towards to get drivers back on the road faster, which means there will probably be more potential for job creation. forward as well given the added complexity of these higher power requirements. The analysis also shows that installing solar panels on site to help power these chargers with clean, cheap solar electricity supports even more workdays for electrical contractors.

Applying these estimates to the Biden administration’s goal of deploying 500,000 EV chargers nationwide (assuming all of them are DC Fast chargers better suited to allow interstate travel), the report shows the following:

California has the most aggressive schedule in the country for transportation electrification. Achieving its 2030 targets for “light” (passenger) vehicles would result in the following years of employment:

The years of employment created by building loaders in California are further increased when medium and heavy electric trucks and buses (M / HDV) are included:

Inclusion practices are needed for targeted communities

To build charging stations, you need electricians, general contractors and planners, among others. Once the stations are built, they must be serviced and maintained by electricians. Many of these careers begin with a high school diploma but, unlike many jobs in the service industry, offer a salary to support a family. It is important to note that the skills and knowledge needed to build an EV infrastructure are useful in other areas as well, opening up more opportunities for trained workers. In addition, there are a variety of types of jobs associated with charging infrastructure, including sales, marketing, licensing, and construction.

Access to apprenticeship programs could help connect people in priority communities to high-profile jobs. But the inclusion of these communities will require a targeted approach. A recruiting partnership with high schools, veterans organizations, and organizations serving vulnerable populations can help connect priority communities to high-profile apprenticeships and jobs.

Let’s get to work for a better future

Persistent unemployment caused by the lingering pandemic has revealed that many workers do not want to return to low-paying service jobs. This workforce report shows that zeroing the pollution from car, truck and bus exhaust pipes needed to reduce pollution from local and global warming can also provide a brighter future for Americans. who struggle to find meaningful and valued careers.

About Robert Pierson

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