While the Morrison government pushes the growth of the gas industry, Australia’s transition to clean energy is in full swing, with a stocktake of clean energy jobs showing more than 27,000 direct full-time jobs in renewable energy and 58,000 jobs in energy efficiency in 2019.
“The boom in energy efficiency and renewable energy and jobs is significant, especially in this time of high unemployment,” said Christian Slattery, campaigner at the Australian Conservation Foundation, which commissioned the stocktake.
“But the Morrison government’s declining interest in renewables and its pro-gas agenda risk the growth of this sector and could turn the clean energy boom into a bust.
“Clean energy presently makes up a fifth of our electricity supply, but it creates more jobs (27,400) than the generation of electricity by coal (12,167) or gas and oil (22,003) in Australia.
“There are even more jobs in energy efficiency (58,568) – good jobs as architects, planners, insulation manufacturers and installers, refrigeration engineers and tradespeople – rethinking and retrofitting our houses and workplaces so they use energy more efficiently.
“It is exciting to see so many renewable energy projects already generating zero-emissions electricity and a wave of job opportunities across the country.”
Last year large solar farms were under construction at Katherine in the Northern Territory, on the mid-west coast near Geraldton in WA, in north Queensland near Townsville, at inland NSW at Balranald and on the southern coastline near Geelong in Victoria.
Wind farms were being built in north Queensland at Hughenden, inland of Townsville, on the rugged south west of Tasmania at Granville Harbour, all across western Victoria and in the west at Jurien Bay, halfway between Perth and Geraldton.
“But while many solar and wind farms are being built, investment in new renewable projects dropped by 40% last year, showing continued growth of these jobs is not a certainty.
“Australia has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create tens of thousands more jobs in clean energy by transitioning our electricity system over the coming years.”
The stocktake by Tristan Edis of Green Energy Markets is a like-for-like comparison between employment in different sources of domestic electricity generation and therefore does not include jobs in coal and gas for export.