The energy transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy has become a pressing need to counter the climate emergency and protect the environment. Despite the clear scientific evidence and the widespread awareness, moving on to a more sustainable use of energy sources still meets some resistance from those who fear this change will lead to job losses. Many forecasts however dispel this fear as unfounded: energy transition and renewable energy, including solar power, are instead an employment driver.
Beginning with job data, according to the seventh edition of the Renewable Energy and Jobs – Annual Review, published by IRENA, in 2019 those directly employed in the renewables market were 11.5 million people, of which a remarkable 3.8 in solar power. Important figures by themselves, but destined to grow increasingly fast in the next future: again according to the report, if adequately supported by public incentives, the market could create another 5.5 million jobs by 2023. Thus the growth trend would be in line with the forecast of another paper, the Global Renewables Outlook 2020, which envision 42 million new jobs in the market.
More conservative estimates, although still positive, are offered by a study published on One Earth, which estimate the overall growth of jobs in the energy market to 26 million, 84% of which pertaining to green energy.
IRENA’s data shows also some positive qualitative sides, in addition to the quantitative ones, in the renewable market. To name one, the market is more gender balanced than the fossil fuel: female employment is 32% in the former, against 21% in the latter.
Clean energy generation, due to technological and market evolution, is now cheaper than the fossil alternative: according think-tank Ember’s European Electricity Review, in several European Union countries wind and solar plants already generate cheaper energy than existing thermal plants. This way, there is a sizeable saving for both families and companies, thus unlocking money that can be used for consumptions and production increases, contributing to economic growth.
To state one, according to the study European Governance of the Energy Transition, done by Fondazione Enel and The European House – Ambrosetti, in the next decade the investments in industries involved in the energy transition could have an overall impact on the GDP of 8,000 billion euros in the European Union and of more than 400 billion euros in Italy.
But renewables do have a real impact also on the local economy: as Chiron Energy, we are committed to support the growth of local economies, such as with our under construction plant of San Martino di Venezze , where construction works and future maintenance will be carried on as much as possible by local companies, so to encourage the growth of the local economy and reduce the environmental footprint due to the transporation.