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Research Integrated Research on Energy, Environment and Society | IREES News

Global employment and skill level requirements for ‘Post-Carbon Europe’

14 November 2023

The electricity sector is a fundamental component of the transition to a post‑carbon economy. Restructuring away from fossil fuels will bring about job losses, along with job gains related to renewable energy deployment. Understanding the net changes in employment requirements and labor intensity will help to inform about potential bottlenecks. We apply a multiregional input-output model to quantify the employment requirements of the transition of the electricity sector in the European Union. We compare the effects of a 100% renewable energy scenario with a reference scenario (representing country-level energy and climate commitments in force in 2015), modeled at five-year intervals from 2015 till 2050. We show the direct and indirect employment requirements by region, sector, skill level, and gender associated with capital investments, operation and maintenance. A transition to 100% renewables would significantly increase labor demand within the European Union in particular. The employment requirements in the construction and manufacturing sectors would be significant, but only temporary. The transition would increase demand especially for medium- and high-skilled labor. However, comparison with labor force availability projections shows the largest gap in low-skilled labor. The higher labor intensity of 100% renewable electricity generation can also affect labor productivity and economic growth.

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Last modified:27 February 2024 11.15 a.m.

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