Energy Blue Print
Archive 2010

Moving from principles to action for energy supply that mitigates against climate change requires a long-term perspective. Energy infrastructure takes time to build up; new energy technologies take time to develop. Policy shifts often also need many years to take effect. In most world regions the transformation from fossil to renewable energies will require additional investment and higher supply costs over about twenty years

employment projections - methodology and assumptions

Greenpeace engaged the Australian-based Institute for Sustainable Futures (ISF) to model the employment effects of our 2009 sustainable future energy scenario compared to business as usual. The results, published in 2009 as “Working for the climate – Renewable Energy & The Green Job [R]evolution”, form the basis for the calculations in the 2010 Energy [R]evolution scenarios.

The model calculates indicative numbers for jobs that would either be created or lost under both the Energy [R]evolution and Reference scenarios, with the over-arching aim of showing the effect on employment if the world re-invents its energy mix to dramatically cut carbon emissions. While the basic Energy [R]evolution scenario assumes a four-fold increase in renewable energy, replacing nuclear and a proportion of coal-fired power, plus widespread energy efficiency improvements, the advanced scenario speeds up introduction of the renewables power market by about ten years. The Reference (‘business as usual’) scenario is based on the International Energy Agency 2009 reference projections.

This section provides a simplified overview of how the calculations were performed and the employment factors determined. The detailed methodology is available in a separate report. Chapters 5 and 6 contain all the data on how the scenarios were developed.

To calculate how many jobs will either be lost or created under the three scenarios requires a series of assumptions. These are summarised below.

  • Start with the amount of electrical capacity that would beinstalled each year, and the amount of electricity generated peryear under the Reference (business as usual) and the two Energy[R]evolution scenarios.
  • Use ‘employment factors’ for each technology, which are thenumber of jobs per unit of electrical capacity (fossil as well asrenewable), separated into manufacturing, construction, operation
    and maintenance and fuel supply.
  • Take into account the ‘local manufacturing’ and ‘domestic fuelproduction’ for each region, in order to allocate the level of localjobs, and also to allocate imports to other regions.
  • Multiply the electrical capacity and generation figures by theemployment factors for each of the energy technologies.
  • For non-OECD regions, apply a “regional job multiplier”, which
    adjusts the OECD employment factors for different levels of
    labour-intensity in different parts of the world. Regional factorsare used for coal mining, so no regional adjustment is needed inthis case.
  • For the 2020 and 2030 calculations, reduce the employmentfactors by a ‘decline factor’ for each technology; this reflects howemployment falls as technology efficiencies improve.

The model used a range of inputs, including data from the International Energy Agency, US Energy Information Association, European Renewable Energy Council, European Wind Energy Association, US National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Renewable Energy Policy Project, census data from the United States, Australia and Canada, and the International Labour Organisation

These calculations only take into account direct employment, for example the construction team needed to build a new wind farm. They do not cover indirect employment, for example the extra services provided in a town to accommodate construction teams. Indirect employment provides significant numbers of jobs, but calculating the numbers is extremely speculative, particularly in a global study where conditions and technologies are so varied. However, including indirect job numbers could at least double the jobs created.