Energy Blue Print
Archive 2010

Moving from principles to action for energy supply that mitigates against climate change requires a long-term perspective. Energy infrastructure takes time to build up; new energy technologies take time to develop. Policy shifts often also need many years to take effect. In most world regions the transformation from fossil to renewable energies will require additional investment and higher supply costs over about twenty years

employment effects

Worldwide, we would see more direct jobs created in the energysector if we shifted to either of the Energy [R]evolution scenarios.

  • By 2015 global power supply sector jobs in the Energy [R]evolution scenario are estimated to reach about 11.1 million, 3.1 million more than in the Reference scenario. The advanced version will lead to 12.5 million jobs by 2015.
  • By 2020 over 6.5 million jobs in the renewables sector would be created due a much faster uptake of renewables, three-times more than today. The advanced version will lead to about one million jobs more than the basic Energy [R]evolution, due a much faster uptake of renewables.
  • By 2030 the Energy [R]evolution scenario achieves about 10.6 million jobs, about two million more than the Reference scenario. Approximately 2 million new jobs are created between 2020 and 2030, twice as much as in the Reference case. The advanced scenario will lead to 12 million jobs, that is 8.5 million in the renewables sector alone. Without this fast growth in the renewable sector global power jobs will be a mere 2.4 million. Thus by implementing the E[R] there will be 3.2 million or over 33% more jobs by 2030 in the global power supply sector

Figure 6.8a and 6.8b show the growth in employment under all scenarios for each technology up to 2020 and up to 2030. New jobs in both Energy [R]evolution scenarios are dominated by wind power and solar photovoltaics, coupled with losses in the coal sector, even in the Reference version.

If the Reference scenario becomes reality, the amount of jobs in the power sector would remain on todays level until 2030. This is despite an increase in electricity generation from coal to 40% by 2030. The main reason is that as prosperity and labour productivity increase, jobs per MW decrease. This is reflected in the ‘regional adjustments’51, which model how electricity generation tends to be more labour intensive in poorer countries than in wealthier ones. This change, based on increasing living standards in the developing world, accounts for two thirds of the reduction in coal jobs in developing countries. China is responsible for one third of worldwide energy sector jobs in 2015, more than three quarters in coal power. The change in China’s regional adjustment accounts for about 200,000 of the coal job losses projected in the Reference scenario.52 A small expansion of the renewables sector would not counteract these losses. Jobs would not return to their 2010 levels, even combined with a 50% expansion in gas capacity.

The Energy [R]evolution scenario also has job losses in coal generation, because growth in capacity is almost zero. However, employment growth in renewable energy is so strong that there is a net gain of 4.1 million jobs by 2030, relative to the 2015 Reference case. The advanced case will lead to 8.5 million jobs in the renewables sector, compared to only 2.4 million in the reference case. In both Energy [R]evolution scenarios we have been cautious in the calculations and applied ‘decline factors’ to represent how jobs per unit of energy can decrease o ver time, making the Greenpeace projections lower than in other studies. It may be the case, for example, that job creation per GWh in energy efficiency could increase as energy efficiency options are all ‘used up’. More details of the employment analysis can be found in Chapter 7.