It can be hard to find good news these days. The recent Clean Jobs Midwest report released by Clean Energy Economy Minnesota shared that more than 8,590 energy-efficiency workers have lost their jobs since the pandemic began in March. This is tragic both in terms of economic impacts and missed opportunities for businesses and individuals to save energy, lower costs, and reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.
As founder of Energy Insight, Inc., a business focused on commercial energy audits and the direct installations of energy-saving products, I can attest to the squeeze our business has felt, as employees were pulled from the field for nearly three months. We were fortunate to keep 100% of our employees, anticipating a return to pre-pandemic work levels, but the number of energy audits and saved kilowatts of electricity and dekatherms of natural gas will undoubtedly be down for the year. With the imminent climate crisis, any setback in energy efficiency is unfortunate.
As utilities, companies, and organizations face a challenging future, our commitment to helping them is strong, as is the case for investing in energy efficiency. I am proud to lead a team of 31 professionals who are as passionate about this work as I am and to be part of a job sector that employed more than 47,000 Minnesotans last year. I believe this industry will emerge well-positioned to employ an increasing number of Minnesotans as more people realize the value of energy efficiency in the decarbonization of commercial, industrial, and residential facilities.