As the shift off carbon accelerates, clean energy companies are scrambling to find the people power they need to keep the lights on.
“The renewables jobs market is heating up and candidates with the right abilities are becoming harder to find,” writes Bloomberg Green, citing comment by Miguel Stilwell, CEO of Portuguese clean energy firm EDP Renováveis. His company will be looking to hire 1,300 more workers by 2023.
If left unaddressed, this talent drought could imperil skyrocketing projections that see solar generation capacity tripling by 2030, while wind capacity more than doubles by decade’s end.
“Engineering skills such as energy assessment, project management, and project design are in high demand,” Bloomberg writes. Also needed are business developers who actually understand how cleantech works.
Today’s graduate students in the field, especially those with skills in engineering or chemistry, are being recruited straight out of their universities. And the schools themselves are alert to these changing winds: Barcelona’s Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya, for example, launched a new a masters program in hydrogen energy just last year.
“There’s always a moment of vacuum whenever a new technology comes in, but we’re able to put together new programs in just a few months,” professor Jordi Llorca told Bloomberg.
The fossil industry offers another potential pool of talent. “About 90% of current workers in the fossil fuel sector can be retrained for renewables,” writes Bloomberg. A recent report by Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen predicts that about half of the 200,000 skilled positions the offshore energy sector will need to fill by 2030 will be staffed by former oil and gas workers.