Countries across the globe continue to battle the economic fallback of the Coronavirus pandemic, with many looking to green technologies and sustainable energy sources as opportunities to restart the economy and create more jobs. According to a report obtained by the Guardian’ renewable energy could power an economic recovery from Covid-19 by spurring global GDP gains of almost $100 tn (£80tn) between now and 2050.’ Pair this with the growing pressure put on governments to do more in fighting climate change, and it becomes glaringly apparent that growth and employment in the renewable sectors are irrefutable. Industries such as oil, gas and coal are experiencing a visible decline, forcing big businesses to look to renewable energy solutions to future-proof their business. Earlier this year, oil giant BP pledged to eliminate their carbon emissions by 2050. In a report, BP predicted that renewables, including wind power, will account for about 30% the world energy by 2040. In 2020, wind and solar energy accounted for 9.8% of the global electricity share, whereas global coal generation fell by 8.4%
As countries and businesses aim to move towards a greener future, expect skilled workers in construction, installation, operation, administration and maintenance to be in high demand over the next decade, as the renewable energy sector boom hits the UK, US and EU.
Economic and Employment Opportunities
By 2030, it is predicted that there will be 24 million jobs in the global renewable energy sector. Notably, in countries like the UK, France & Germany, offshore wind power has become an increasingly popular power source. In 2018 the offshore wind industry contributed more than £46-billion to the UK economy and provided jobs for almost a quarter of a million people. The UK government has applauded the sector, crediting it as a ‘British success story’. This growth trajectory is predicted to triple over the next 10 years, as world leaders work towards reaching Paris Agreement targets. Earlier in October, the UK government released a statement outlining their goal to ‘build back greener by making the UK the world leader in clean wind energy – creating jobs, slashing carbon emissions and boosting exports…this sets us on the path towards a green industrial revolution, which will provide tens of thousands of highly-skilled jobs’. On November 18th, Prime Minister, Boris Johnson released a 10-point plan that outlined how he intended to facilitate this green recovery, highlighting industries such as wind, solar and electric power, carbon collection, green technologies and green finance as crucial growth and investment sectors. ‘This 10-point plan will turn the UK into the world’s number one centre for green technology and finance, creating the foundations for decades of economic growth’, said Mr Johnson.
In the US, the renewable energy industry continues to grow too. According to a report presented by the Environmental Defence Fund (EDF), the clean energy and sustainability sector currently employs over 4 million people. The report also states that jobs in solar and wind are growing 12 times faster than the rest of the US economy. ‘Our findings would lead us to believe that the right place to invest dollars is in renewable energy rather than fossil fuels’ says Liz Delaney, (then) director, EDF.
As for traditional energy sectors, their future is not looking as bright. Covid-19 has accelerated a fossil fuel commodities crisis, as demand for gas falls at a record-breaking rate. A report found that global energy demand is likely to drop by 6% this year, seven times more than the 2008 financial crisis. BP’s 2020 outlook forecast reported that ‘fossil fuel consumption is set to shrink for the first time in modern history as climate policies boost renewable energy, while the coronavirus epidemic leaves a lasting effect on global energy demand.’
Countries to Watch
- Costa Rica
- United Kingdom
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