• Traditionally, energy sources have been linked to end-customers through pipelines, ports, and transmission lines, but new technologies have allowed for the development of independent and decentralized microgrids that reduce reliance on traditional centralized networks, smart grids that allow for better monitoring and regulation of energy once it has been produced, and storage that allows for energy to be saved during periods of relative surplus for use during peak times. Jobs in these industries are referred to as those in the “Transmission, Distribution and Storage” industry (TDS). 31 percent of American TDS jobs are found in the utilities industry itself, but even more (33%) are found in construction. 14 percent of these jobs are found in pipeline and other distribution industries, another 14 percent are in professional services industries (including research and development), and the remainder are in other services. But this masks big differences in the service content of fossil fuel vs. renewable energy-TDS jobs. While roughly 11 percent of fossil fuel TDS jobs are in professional services, 29 percent of smart grid and almost 17 percent of battery storage jobs are.38 Professional service jobs tend to bring better terms of work, and higher economic benefit multiplier effects, on average.

38 “Appendix A: Discussion of USEER Methodology.” USEER 2021, p. A-73. 2021. Available at:

  • California specializes in energy storage, but not other subcategories of TDS. Its 18,571 storage jobs qualify it for fifth place among all states, but the state’s smart grid and microgrid employment specialization are still lower than would be expected, based on the size of its economy. By comparison, Wyoming leads the nation in TDS density, for likely two reasons: it is the largest exporter of energy39 in the country,40 meaning it must administer trade and transmission beyond its borders, and it has the lowest population density and a distributed population. As a result, more distribution infrastructure (i.e., traditional TDS) and distributed systems (i.e., microgrids) are required.

39 Wyoming’s energy exports mainly consist of fossil fuels, as it produces around 40 percent of the United States coal. Wyoming also mines the most uranium in the United States, despite having no nuclear power plants of their own.

40 “U.S. States that Export the Most Energy.” Global Trade Magazine. March 25, 2021. Available at: