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Renewables sector in India has potential to create millions of new jobs

Date
21 August 2013
Renewables sector in India has potential to create millions of new jobs

NEW DELHI: Since the Government announced planned renewables capacity growth in India, the sector’s potential to create millions of new jobs is back in the spotlight.

Last week, India’s Government revealed its revived US$7.9 billion plan to upgrade its electric grid to prepare for planned renewables growth, and with this announcement comes the promise of new clean energy jobs for the economy amid what is currently a gloomy outlook for jobseekers. 

A recent report by the country’s leading business paper, The Economic Times, states: 'India, the world's second-most populous country and home to the world’s second largest workforce (469 million workers), has a problem. […] the ongoing economic slowdown and the accompanying woes — rising inflation and interest rates, a weakening rupee and stalled investments — will inevitably take its toll on jobs.' 

Indian jobs market

Naina Lal Kidwai, President, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry told the newspaper in July, ‘"Layoffs of contractual staff have already started and this could soon move to permanent employees," warning the government of "a grim employment scenario unless growth is revived urgently".

Echoing these views, a recent study by HSBC India reports that the manufacturing sector in India is also suffering as new orders fall while ‘the rate of job creation remained slight’.  

However, a special report by IPCC outlines the positive long-term effects of clean energy as an important contribution to job creation, especially in the manufacturing sector, which has been the backbone of many national green growth strategies. 

Low carbon economy

According to Greenpeace, Global Wind Energy Council and European Renewable Energy Council's joint 2012 report, approximately 2.4 million jobs can be created in India in 2020 from growth in the renewables market. Importantly, this report points out that renewable energy has the potential to significantly grow the labor market, as clean technologies are generally more labor-intensive and will consequently create more domestic jobs as the market grows.

Results of the expansion of the renewable energy sector are already visible. In the last three years over 50,000 new jobs have already been created, according to India’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy. The Ministry's 2010 human resources report projects renewables employment to increase nine-fold to reach 20 million jobs by 2030, with biomass leading the growth at 59% of total capacity, followed by solar PV at 31%.

Subaskar Sitsabeshan, Programme Analyst, The Climate Group, comments: “Not only is clean energy stabilizing and expanding India’s power supply, it is also generating much-needed jobs for India. Beyond jobs, renewable energy also creates positive economic ‘ripple’ effects that provides long term economic growth perspectives for India. We must raise this evidence to the forefront of leader’s agendas. 

"Government and business leaders should continue to work together in order to arrest the decline of renewable energy investments in India - which mirrors the recent global trend - and fully utilize the potential opportunity for renewable energy generation in India. This way we will achieve energy independence and creation of jobs for greater Indian prosperity.” 

Read our 2011 report: India's Clean Revolution

Related news:

As India revives US$8.7 billion clean energy grid upgrade, off-grid projects also on rise

Indian Prime Minister wants clean energy subsidies, doubling of renewables by 2017

Subaskar Sitsabeshan: India's policymakers must find renewable solutions to alleviate energy poverty

By Maria Mateeva and Subaskar Sitsabeshan

Image by Paul Anderson

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