Renewable Energy Employment in Australia
Measuring the employment and career opportunities created by Australia's renewable energy industry.
Australia's rapidly growing renewable energy industry will create thousands of jobs over the next decade. To get an accurate sense of the scale and nature of this boost for employment, the Clean Energy Council commissioned ISF to research current practice and make informed projections for the future.
In 2019, ISF conducted an industry-wide survey, taking in the Australian manufacture, installation, operation and supply chains for wind and solar energy, hydro and pumped hydro power, and batteries.
The results were then applied to the scenarios used by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) in its draft Integrated Systems Plan (ISP) to estimate the resulting job creation into the future.
- Renewable energy will be a major source of jobs in the next few years – but there are very different trajectories depending on government COVID-19 stimulus measures and wider energy policy. Depending on policy decisions taken now, the renewable energy industry could create 20,000 new jobs in the next five years or lose 11,000 jobs by 2022.
- Renewable energy currently employs more people than the domestic coal sector – and employment would be comparable to the entire coal workforce under AEMO’s renewable growth scenarios.
- Renewable energy can play a meaningful role in transition for coal regions – but a comprehensive transition plan for industry diversification, renewable planning, and investment is needed to realise these opportunities for the current coal workforce.
- In 2019, at least 25,000 people were employed across renewable energy supply chains and almost 10,000 of those were in rooftop solar.
- By 2035 the renewable energy sector could employ as many as 46,000 people under the AEMO’s Step Change Scenario.
Around 75 per cent of renewable energy job opportunities to 2035 could be distributed across regional and rural Australia.
Although construction and installation jobs now dominate the renewable energy labour market (75 per cent), by 2035 as many as half of renewable energy jobs could be ongoing jobs in operation and maintenance.
Skills shortages exist within the renewable energy labour market and perpetuate a range of issues such as, reduced efficiencies and project delays that costs. A review of the structure and suitability of relevant training systems across the renewable energy industry is necessary to respond to the growing needs of industry and to deliver credible career pathways for Australians.
Read the report
Download the ISF's summary for each of these states:
Download ISF's methodology report and appendices.
Download the Clean Energy Council's Clean Energy at Work report.
Watch the webinar
Chris Briggs and Jay Rutovitz presented key findings from the project at a public seminar presented by the Australian German Climate and Energy College and the Energy Transition Hub on 25 June 2020.
You can watch the webinar here.
See the accompanying slide presentation here.