Energy Jobs Are Finally Recovering, With Renewables Leading The Way


With hundreds of thousands of energy jobs lost around the world during the pandemic, there have been major concerns for the future of energy jobs, particularly with all the talk of moving away from fossil fuels. However, the recent stimulus to renewable energy growth and the introduction of climate protection measures around the world are expected to spur growth in renewable energy jobs in the coming decades. After the death of Anti-Inflation Act Last month, the US renewable energy job market suddenly boomed. Companies that expected moderate expansion are now looking to expand their workforce at a faster pace as the new law supports the fight against climate change and the growth of the green economy. The new law earmarks $400 billion over the next decade to accelerate EV adoption and renewable energy project development, mostly in the form of tax credits.

And we’re already seeing the rapid response to the bill as major automakers like Honda and Toyota announce massive EV battery plants in Ohio and North Carolina. And green energy companies are trying to develop larger projects than previously anticipated before switching to green energy. Experts believe the bill will help triple renewable electricity capacity by the end of the decade.

In addition to increasing renewable energy capacities, this will also have a major impact on the labor market. By 2030, the number of clean energy jobs is expected to increase to 1 million. John Hensley, research vice president at trade association American Clean Power, explained “There will be an entire supply chain building that will build on already established industries.” The law is expected to add 550,000 new jobs to the existing 442,000 clean energy jobs in the US

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EV tax credits could help EV manufacturers reduce battery prices by around $3,400 by 2025, making EVs more affordable for consumers looking to switch from internal combustion engines to electric vehicles. This is being accomplished by pumping funds into research and development and expanding manufacturing operations by hiring thousands of new employees across the country to build these batteries.

And many of these renewable energy jobs are for fossil fuel industry employees who already have years of experience in the energy sector. America has gradually increased its renewable energy capacity in recent years as it moves away from its sole dependence on fossil fuels. Houston-based ConnectGen CEO Caton Fenz, explained“They talk about great project management skills, and they are absolutely transferrable.” However, alongside the shift in occupations among oil, gas and coal workers, the expansion of the green energy sector in the years to come will require a tremendous amount of training and development of the skilled workforce that needed to manage these massive renewable energy projects.

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Studies show that the average age of workers such as electricians, contractors and other skilled professionals is increasing fewer recent graduates are trained to replace them how to retire. There is concern that as the renewable energy sector expands rapidly, there will not be enough skilled workers to fill the needed positions. However, this opens up a great opportunity for the introduction of new university degrees and other training programs for the development of renewable energy professionals.

This is a major bottleneck right now, as 80 percent of solar companies surveyed in the US Interstate Renewable Energy Council’s National Solar Jobs Census last year said they were finding it difficult to find enough qualified applicants to fill positions. The Executive Vice President for People and Culture at wind giant Vestas Wind Systems A/S, Kerstin Knapp, explained that a shortage of skilled workers “is actually an underestimated element of the energy transition”.

There is a great opportunity to provide skilled workers from the fossil fuel industry with additional training for the transition to renewable energy, as well as offer university degrees and other training programs to young people to support the growth of the industry. There is a severe skills shortage for positions such as security expert, construction supervisor, and cybersecurity expert, and it will only get worse if training opportunities don’t improve quickly. Knapp suggested that “in the near future we will mainly be hiring from utilities and industry because the transfer of skills from traditional sectors to renewable energy is more direct” and in terms of longer-term workforce needs “the world needs a skills and training revolution. ”

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After two years of concerns about energy jobs, recent developments in renewable energy offer greater hope for growth in energy jobs. However, the industry may struggle to find workers with the required skills. This increase in green energy job opportunities will provide fossil fuel workers with the potential to transfer their skills to work in renewable energy, but demand for oil and gas workers is also increasing. In the longer term, governments and private institutions need to invest heavily in the development of training programs and university degrees to provide young people with the skills needed for new jobs in this sector.

By Felicity Bradstock for Oilprice.com

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