Data released by ABS today shows a boom in renewable energy construction to meet the 2020 Renewable Energy Target is driving jobs growth and creating new employment opportunities, said business and energy experts.
There were 14,820 full-time equivalent jobs in renewable energy activities in 2016-2017, a 33% increase from 11,150 in 2015-2016.
However, experts fear this growth could end in the future if the government fails to put in place new policy to replace the Renewable Energy Target after 2020.
“The renewable energy industry and the power sector more generally have displayed a spectacular ability to scale-up capacity and this is leading to a surge in construction jobs which is reflected in the ABS figures today” said Tristan Edis, Director of Analysis and Advisory, Green Energy Markets.
“We now have enough capacity committed, or in the process of being contracted, to meet the 2020 Renewable Energy Target and the Government’s 2030 emissions target under the National Energy Guarantee. However, because of this, the incentive to add further capacity and the jobs that go with it, is falling away.”
“The renewable energy industry is demonstrating it can deliver large amounts of power, jobs and emission reductions at modest cost. It would be a great pity if this progress were to wither on the vine because of government inaction on putting in place policies consistent with their international climate commitments.”
James Wright, CEO of the Future Business Council, said: “Australia and the rest of the world are already shifting away from coal and towards renewable energy and storage because there is a strong economic case for it.
“Renewables are already the cheapest way to add new capacity to the grid. The growing number of job opportunities in the sector is one more reason why they should power Australia’s energy mix and economy.”
“A political commitment to raising the goal for national emissions reductions beyond 26 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030 will accelerate the growth of opportunities in this sector,” added Wright.