The National Grid has warned that more than 100,000 people need to be recruited to fill green energy roles in the next decade if the UK has any hope of meeting its binding climate targets.
A report by the company found that the UK must fill at least 120,000 jobs in the green energy industry by 2030 to help develop projects that can cut greenhouse gas emissions to near zero. This number is likely to rise to 400,000 by 2050 by which time the UK government hopes it will have developed a clean energy system based on renewable electricity, green heating systems and electric vehicles.
The report advised that a fifth of employees in the energy sector are due to retire by 2030. As it stands, the UK’s energy industry is up against stiff competition from other sectors and has a limited pipeline of young people pursuing Stem (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) qualifications to draw from.
The energy industry is expected to use its role in tackling the global climate crisis to attract young graduates into the industry.
The UK expects to see a growing need for new recruits to power the UK’s climate targets as it faces a green energy jobs crunch over the next 10 years.
Nicola Shaw, the executive director of the National Grid, said:
“The time is now for the sector to rise to the challenge and overcome the longstanding issues we face in recruiting a diverse workforce with the right skills to deliver on the UK’s ambitions.”
Major investments will be required in offshore wind, clean heating schemes, electric vehicles and carbon-capture technology if the UK’s plan to cut emissions to virtually zero and offset unavoidable pollution through carbon capture schemes, can happen.
YouGov has carried out research that has revealed that people of all ages, from all regions across the UK, are “looking for a job with environmental purpose”. More than eight in 10 women and seven in 10 men have said they are keen to play their part in tackling climate change. Over half of adults are particularly looking to be employed by organisations that are helping the UK to achieve its climate goals.
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According to the National Grid a quarter of the green jobs required will need to be based in the north of the country. In order to complete the current energy projects including an offshore wind farm off the coast of Blyth and the new subsea power cable to Norway from the north-east of England it estimated that more than 21,000 new recruits will be needed.
As the need for green energy jobs increases the report states that this could bring opportunities for skilled tradespeople, engineers and other specialists “across every region of the country”.
Kwasi Kwarteng, the minister of state for business, energy and clean growth, said:
“Tackling climate change is not only saving the planet but is significantly boosting our economy. As we work to reduce our emissions to net zero by 2050, the UK has the potential to support 2m green-collar jobs across our world-class renewables sector, among other industries.”
At the same time the advancement in carbon capture and storage in the Yorkshire and Humber region is expected to support 17,000 new jobs. Another 28,000 roles will be needed to work on more offshore wind farms off the east of England.
Green energy workers will be needed in Scotland to fill more than 48,000 jobs by 2050, with a further 25,000 green energy roles expected in Wales.
With the global rise in green jobs there is no doubt that the labour market is in the process of shifting from more CO2 reliant jobs to those that are environmentally friendly.
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