Renewables job numbers hit three-year high – led by Australia’s coal states

Full time jobs in renewable energy reached a three-year high in 2016-17, led by industry growth in two of Australia’s most coal-dependent states, NSW and Queensland.

Full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs created by the renewable energy industry has been estimated at 14,820 in 2016-17, a 33 per cent jump in from the 2015/16 period, and the highest numbers seen since the boom-time of 2012-13.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics, which released the updated data on Wednesday, said the jump was mostly driven by the development pipeline of solar and wind farms, although rooftop solar remains the biggest single employer, in terms of full-time jobs.

Full-time employment in large-scale solar PV increased by 1,240 jobs and in wind by 1,370 jobs, the two sectors accounting for over two-thirds (71%) of the increase in full time renewable energy jobs for the year, the ABS says.

Full-time positions in rooftop solar, meanwhile, grew by 860, to a total of 6,430 FTE jobs in 2016/17, as favourable policy and economics and soaring electricity prices combined to drive residential uptake to new heights.

On a state-by-state basis, growth was led by two of Australia’s most coal power dominated states, New South Wales and Queensland, which both increased FTE job numbers by more than 1,000, off the back of mostly large-scale solar in Queensland, and wind farms in NSW.