RACE for 2030 calls to “count all energy jobs”

Energy industry workers (RACE for 2030)

Australia and the world need a new approach to counting employment in the energy sector, according to a new report by the Reliable Affordable Clean Energy Cooperative Research Centre (RACE for 2030), a 10-year, $350 million collaboration of Australian industry and researchers supported by the Commonwealth Government. 

Instead of surveying jobs in different parts of the energy sector at different times and in different ways, a single coordinated survey of the entire energy industry from energy production to use should be undertaken. This is one of the key findings of the new report Developing the Future Energy Workforce, which sets out a detailed research roadmap for measuring and developing employment in the energy sector over the next decade. 

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“The energy sector is transitioning and with that, the nature of employment is changing, we currently do not have visibility of this dynamic. It is important that we understand all dimensions and be prepared to address the skills of the future,” program leader Professor Greg Morrison said.

“Whether you are installing solar panels, mining resources, working the phones for a power company, or upgrading lighting in a home or air conditioning in an office, or managing flexible loads on a manufacturing site, you are helping to meet Australia’s energy needs. Monitoring the energy workforce in a consistent way will help government and industry to plan for and meet the needs of this crucial and rapidly evolving sector.” 

The Developing the Future Energy Workforce report has proposed establishing an Australian Energy & Employment Report (AEER), building on the precedent of the U.S. Energy & Employment Report (USEER), which surveys employment in traditional energy industry, new and renewable energy industries and the energy efficiency. 

“While there have been numerous assessments of trends in employment in particular parts of the energy sector, it is unclear whether the energy sector as a whole is growing or shrinking. For example, there has not been a systematic measurement of the entire clean energy sector in Australia since the Australian Sustainable Energy Survey in 2002,” RACE for 2030 said in a statement.

“Recent studies estimate the renewable energy workforce to be at least 30,000 and the energy efficiency workforce to be between 59,000 and 236,000. However, there is no reliable baseline information, and no consistent method of projection apart from some types of renewable energy. By 2030 the clean energy sector could increase by somewhere between 130,000 and 200,000 jobs. 

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“In addition to considering how to measure the energy workforce, the report addresses other key questions about Australia’s energy sector, including, how training and skills can be fit for the future, and how to strengthen Australia’s innovation pathways and foster successful start-up companies in the sector.”

“Australia’s ability to reach net zero emissions and realise the job and growth opportunities offered by this transition depends on developing the necessary skills, employment and new businesses in the energy sector,” RACE for 2030 CEO Jon Jutsen said.

“This report sets out a research roadmap to achieve this.” 

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