Report shows electricity from renewables creates more jobs than fossil fuels

A new international report has found that the development of renewable energy resources like solar and wind creates more jobs than the development of fossil fuels.

In its inaugural Rethinking Energy report, the International Renewable Energy Agency, assessed some of the major economic benefits that the now – it says – inevitable shift to renewables would bring.

The report found that the manufacture and installation of renewables was more labour intensive – per megawatt of new capacity – than coal, natural gas or nuclear.

“When creating energy policies, policy makers should consider the number of jobs their policies will create and how many of these can be localised,” the report said.

To expand on this, IRENA cites the example of South Africa, whose Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP) factors in socio-economic benefits from renewable energy deployment through the use of weighted development criteria during evaluation of the bids.

“Job creation and local content, for instance, both have a 25% weight while assessing bids. Similarly, local ownership and development each have a 15% weight. Other criteria include preferential procurement (10%), management control (5%) and enterprise development (5%).

The report says that early evidence suggests this program has been successful in bringing forward the cost efficient deployment of renewable energy, while also increasing renewable energy job opportunities and boosting local economic development.

South Africa’s Energy Ministry estimates REIPPPP’s third window will contribute approximately $US4.4 billion towards national socio-economic development.

Top image via IRENA

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Giles Parkinson