From solar panel cleaners and housing insulation specialists to wind turbine climbers and much more, the move to a low-carbon economy powered by renewable energy sources has the potential to shape new businesses and the job market.
But while the transition to renewable energy has the potential to dramatically transform the nation’s economy, it’s also important that we continue to manage the energy demands of emerging markets. Though there has been a significant increase in LNG facility development, it’s still unlikely that that renewable energy will ever be a stand-alone industry.
That aside though, there’s no denying that renewable energy and the jobs created as a result of new targets and initiatives does have the potential to impact the labour market – and here’s how.
The economy will benefit
As a result of the transition towards renewable energy, the economy will ultimately be better off. Research suggests that jobs within the renewable energy sector are set to increase and will contribute greatly to the economy – as they’re better paid and typically require candidates to have higher qualifications than those in the conventional energy sector.
Changes to conventional energy sector jobs
The focus on renewable energy has also lead to the creation of new job roles within energy efficiency – and this is an area which is often underestimated in terms of job creation. Installation can be extremely labour-intensive, so workers are in constant demand. For example – every building which has been retrofitted will require workmen, whether it’s to replace something as small as an old coffee machine or printer with a more energy-efficient alternative.
Energy efficiency roles are driven by multiple factors (regulatory, socio-economic and technical to name but a few), and new directives regarding renewable energy could directly lead to significant economic growth and employment. There now appears to be a skills shortage in the UK for all types of engineers – from general mechanical, design and environmental engineers, to more specific wind energy engineers and even scientists such as ecologists, as well as those with design and technical skills including landscape and wind analysts.
Is this the business of the future?
Renewable energy sources are undoubtedly becoming increasingly familiar to us, and they’re now more important than ever – especially as governments are coming together and international agreements are being put in place to tackle climate change and drive down carbon emissions.
As rapid development takes place, there’s an opportunity for energy workers to play a major part; wind and marine energy is estimated to support around 30,000 direct and indirect jobs currently, but there is the potential to generate a further 70,000 over the next decade. A single renewable energy project requires the coordination and contribution of people from a variety of backgrounds and skillets – and one of the main attractions of the industry is its potential for longevity. Renewable energy is now the UK’s second largest source of electricity, and easily demonstrates the UK’s increasing reliance on dependable renewable energy sources. The sector is likely to continue to grow and has the potential to play an important role in the energy mix – boosting the economy and ultimately supporting tens of thousands of jobs for many years to come.