How Clean Energy Jobs Can Drive COVID Recovery

In this league of cumulative effort, clean energy is leading the drive and is leaving no stone unturned to recover the loss by providing sufficient job opportunities and generating revenue

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When the pandemic started in March 2020, nobody knew that it will take the economy by storm. While the situation still seems uncontrollable, the economy is getting back on track, but if we go by the experts, it’s a long way and cumulative efforts are required to bring the change.

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In this league of cumulative effort, clean energy is leading the drive and is leaving no stone unturned to recover the loss by providing sufficient job opportunities and generating revenue.

According to a recent survey, renewable energy is still continuing to create jobs worldwide and it has been proven that the industry has the potential to lead employment growth as countries start recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic.

The global renewable sector added half a million jobs in 2019, according to the latest annual jobs report by the International Renewable energy Agency (IRENA), taking total employment in clean energy to 11.5 million.

 The latest report by the International Renewable energy Agency (IRENA), states that the global renewable sector has generated half a million jobs in 2019 and it took the total employment statistics in the clean energy sector to 11.5 million.

And the Annual Review 2020 report of Renewable Energy and Jobs by IRENA says that clean energy sector has accounted for as much as 63 per cent of the total employment.

According to industry insiders, at the moment the major focus is on renewable energy investment and investors are spending on energy transition as it could ensure an eco-friendly recovery from the global COVID-19 crisis and its economic shock.

If we got by the report, the expansion of solar and wind sector has been muted in India and India has added 7.7 GW of solar photovoltaic capacity in 2019, 16 per cent less than in the previous year. After eight years of growth, the labour-intensive rooftop solar market contracted by 7 per cent, reaching 1.5 GW in 2019.

 Indian job scenario

According to the latest IRENA report, while there has been a decline of 14 per cent jobs in grid-connected solar photovoltaics in 2019, there has been a spike of 95,000 opportunities in off-grid solar applications as well.

Also, the report says that the domestic manufacturing of $42 billion in equipment imports by 2030 is expected and it will also create as many as 50,000 direct and 125,000 indirect jobs over a five-year period.

The attempt is to boost domestic solar manufacturing sector and bring back it from the problems that have occurred in recent years in India.

 Although India is the world’s fourth-largest wind market, IRENA estimates jobs in the country’s wind sector at 62,800. The 2.2 GW added in 2019 was only slightly more than half of the 4.1 GW installed in 2017.

According to industry insiders, India’s renewable energy sector has emerged as an exceptional employment generator in recent times, but an unexpected fall in installing solar and wind power capacity in the fiscal year ended March 2019 has slowed down the growth in new jobs.

As per the Powering Jobs Growth with Green Energy report released in 2019, the change has happened due to many reasons, but at the same time it is expected to change with the efforts being made in the sector.

It is expected that a low-carbon growth path can stimulate the economy as well as mitigate climate risks. Renewable energy can revitalize the economy by creating “green” jobs, ensuring energy security and strengthening resilience.

Experts believe that each million dollars invested in renewables or energy flexibility could create at least 25 jobs, while each million invested in efficiency would create about 10 odd jobs.

As per the report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) it is estimated that transforming energy systems based on renewable could boost global GDP by $98 trillion by 2050.  It is also estimated that it can create 63 million new jobs globally in renewable and energy efficiency.

If we go by the statistics, India saw over 100 million job losses during the pandemic, but at the same time it is also expected that by achieving 160 GW from renewable by 202, India alone can manage 1.3 million full-time jobs  and that can boost the industry and the economy.

Indian experts in clean energy feel that it is important that the government adopt a policy and investment response that is geared towards a sustainable and just recovery. It is also the responsibility of all the stakeholders in the sector to step up and take personal interest and adopt sustainable and clean business practices; and investors to decarbonize their portfolios and back the renewables sector. Also, the civil society needs to wake up and must actively support plans for a green and just recovery by adopting sustainable lifestyles. This will altogether help recover the loss and bring back prosperity in the sector and in country at large.