Australia to lose 20,000 energy jobs with NEG, report says

Rendered illustration of renewable energy in a lightbulb (NSW emissions)

Australia could miss out on 20,000 potential jobs in the electricity sector under the Federal Government’s proposed National Energy Guarantee (NEG), according to new economic modelling from Ernst and Young (EY).

The independent EY modelling, commissioned by the Climate Council, confirms there will be significantly fewer jobs in the national electricity sector under the NEG, compared to Australia’s current projected energy employment levels in the sector.

The Renewable Energy Jobs: Future Growing in Australia 2017 Supplement report shows that the NEG’s low-end projection of 28 per cent renewable energy in 2030 would result in 6,600 fewer jobs in the entire electricity sector, compared to “business as usual”.

In addition, the modelling indicates there would also be 20,000 fewer jobs, compared to 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030.

Climate Councillor Andrew Stock said the figures show Australia’s booming renewables industry is at risk of grinding to a halt.

“The modelling shows the NEG would result in almost no large-scale wind and solar construction from 2020 onwards,” he said.

“New large-scale renewables are critical to creating new energy jobs, increasing power supply to reduce skyrocketing energy prices.”

Mr Stock said state and regional economies will experience a significant hit as a result of renewable energy project restrictions under the NEG, compared to 50 per cent renewable energy.

The modelling highlights New South Wales would be the hardest hit, with around 9000 less net jobs in the electricity sector in 2030, followed by Queensland (4000) and Victoria (2800).

“Regional Australian towns and cities are at risk of missing out on major economic boosts, with the construction of new large-scale renewable wind and solar projects plummeting after 2020 under the NEG,” he said.

Climate Council CEO Amanda McKenzie said the new economic modelling demonstrates the importance for Federal Government energy policy to set appropriate ambition.

“No matter what the policy is it must drive up renewable energy and drive down pollution. The ambition behind the NEG is too low to do either.”

The independent modelling comes as states and territories prepare to join the Federal Government to discuss the NEG at the COAG Energy Council this week.