26,000 Renewable Energy Jobs For Australia

While debate rages on about Australia’s Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme and polluting industries predict major job losses, a new report shows major job creation ahead as a result of key national climate change policies being implemented.

The Climate Institute commissioned energy sector consultants McLennan Magasanik Associates (MMA) to assess the potential contribution of renewable energy; including wind, wave, geothermal, bio-energy and solar farms, to regional employment in Australia.

According to the Climate Institute, $31 billion worth of renewable energy investments are underway or are planned for Australia, which will create over 26,000 jobs. This includes almost 2,500 new permanent positions, over 15,000 construction jobs and more than 8,600 indirect jobs in supporting sectors. According to the Institute, these are not pie in the sky figures, but refer to real projects and real plans.

The areas to benefit most would be in regional Australia, currently reeling under the impact of drought, floods, recession and the fears instigated by polluting industries regarding mass unemployment. Job losses in one polluting sector could be transferable to the clean energy sector with some re-skilling programs put in place.

Western Australia is expected to experience the largest growth in renewable energy, with growth close to 350% by 2020. South Australia, Queensland and Victoria are all expected to see renewable energy output grow by more than 200%.

Between the Government’s Renewable Energy Target of 20%, the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme and the Budget’s Clean Energy Initiative, the report states Australia can build almost five times the energy capacity of the Snowy Hydro scheme.

The projected job numbers don’t include employment gains from energy efficiency policies, insulation and expansion of roof top solar and other low carbon industrial job potential.

The full Clean Energy Jobs Report can be downloaded here (PDF) and the brief downloaded here (PDF)