What does growth in renewable energy mean for jobseekers?
The past ten years in renewable energy have been dramatic, to say the least. We’ve experienced enormous growth, huge highs and some setbacks, with 2020 shaping up to be another bumper year. We know that renewable energy is the fastest-growing energy source globally, which is great news for the environment – but what does it mean for job seekers?
What can we expect for renewable energy this year and into the future?
2020 will be an expansion year for renewable energy, according to the Renewable Energy Industry Outlook. With global supplies of renewable energy growing more quickly than expected – solar, wind and hydropower projects are being developed at their fastest rate in four years – it’s been predicted that renewable electricity could grow by 1,200GW by 2024. To put this into perspective, that’s the equivalent of the United States’ total electricity capacity and could help to bring renewable energy sources up to 30% of the world’s electricity share, as predicted by the International Energy Agency. This could see the current demand for coal and oil decline, which would have obvious environmental benefits and see new job opportunities emerge for renewable energy professionals involved at every stage of the project lifecycle.
What’s driving renewable energy growth?
Growing climate ambitions and concerns are playing a significant role in the push towards more renewable capacity. Consumer appetite for renewables remains high, and corporate demand will grow as renewable prices drop further, making it a more lucrative option than traditional energy sources. Solar energy in particular is predicted to get cheaper, resulting in the number of home solar panels expected to double by 2024 to 100 million rooftops around the world. And while investment in renewable energy is slowing down globally, the required investment for installing solar and wind power capacity is much lower than it has been in the past. This cost competitiveness is ushering in more competition – and therefore more projects to be involved in.
Technology is also playing a role in accelerating renewable energy, and in particular we’re seeing smart grid technology drive growth as grid integration becomes a key component in ongoing development. As the IoT gets smarter and more connected, this will trickle down into renewable energy, particularly in wind farms where the collection and interpretation of high volumes of data is critical. Wind energy has been steadily developing in recent years, becoming less expensive than it once was and was the first technology to agree a government Sector Deal, which will likely result in billions of pounds of investment into the UK’s offshore wind sector and capacity rapidly expand.
How can jobseekers capitalise on renewable energy trends?
With more competition in the market, falling costs and ongoing demand for clean energy sources, it’s a perfect time for professionals with renewable energy expertise to consider their next career move. There have been discussions around skills shortages in renewables both globally and closer to home, particularly as the market becomes increasingly digitalised. This means jobseekers are likely to have plenty of options, particularly if they are technologically-savvy and are prepared to temporarily relocate to boom areas such as China, the USA, Sweden and Finland.
Job titles experiencing demand by employers include project managers, quality managers, site managers, cable engineers, line installers and service technicians. If you currently work in another part of the energy sector, a transition into renewables could be easier than you think – and will likely be a smart move to future-proof your career.
As the global renewable market catches up to where the UK has been for a while, professionals should be prepared to consider taking up contracts internationally. Offshore wind has remained buoyant locally, with direct jobs expected to treble to 27,000 by 2030, but job volume at home has suffered somewhat from the slow down in investment. However, candidates with the right skillset will always be appealing to the clients we work with, and the international opportunities are aplenty.