Energy Blue Print
Archive 2008

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

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employment effects

global: jobs results

Worldwide, we would see more direct jobs in energy,if we shift to an Energy [R]evolution scenario.

  • By 2010 global energy sector jobs in the [R]evolution scenario are estimated at about 9.3 million, 200,000 more than the Reference scenario.
  • By 2020, the [R]evolution scenario is estimated to have about10.5 million jobs, 2 million more than the Reference scenario.More than half a million jobs are lost in the Reference scenario between 2010 and 2020, while 1 million are added in the[R]evolution scenario.
  • By 2030 the [R]evolution scenario has about 11.3 million, 2.7million more than the Reference scenario. Approximately 800,000new jobs are created between 2020 and 2030 in the [R]evolution,ten times the number created in the Reference scenario.

If the Reference scenario becomes reality, the world would lose600,000 jobs in the energy sector between 2010 and 2020, mainly in coal generation. This is despite a 37% increase electricity generation from coal.

The main reason is that as prosperity and labour productivity increases, jobs per MW decreases. This is reflected in the regionaladjustments10, which model how electricity generation tends to be more labour intensive in poorer countries than in wealthier countries. This change accounts for two thirds of the reduction in coal jobs. Between 2010 and 2020, the regional adjustment falls most sharply in China, dropping from 1.9 in 2010 to 1.2 in 2020due to strong projected growth in GDP per capita in China.This accounts for about 700,000 of the coal job losses projected in the Reference scenario11.

The [R]evolution scenario also has job losses in coal generation jobs, because growth in capacity is almost zero. However, job growth in renewable energy is so strong that there is a net gain of 2 million jobs by 2030, relative to the 2010 Reference case.

In both scenarios we have been cautious in the calculations and applied decline factors to represent how jobs per unit of energy can decrease over time, making the Greepeace projections lower than other studies.

It may be the case, for example, the job creation per GWh in energy efficiency could increase as energy efficiency options are all ‘used up’. For example, a recent analysis of grid management jobs associated with ‘Intelligent Grid’ operation estimated 280,000 new jobs created in the US during the implementation phase, more than double the total jobs projected here12. If no decline factor is applied, energy efficiency jobs would be projected at 1.4 million in 2020 and 2.6 million in 2030.