Many European nations have taken big strides toward reducing their carbon footprints. Transportation and power are key sectors in this initiative. Carbon reduction will be instrumental in slowing climate change. It is also of interest that a low carbon economy will create large-scale employment generation. Here is a look at how these factors are linked.
Sustained job creation
One of the less obvious advantages of switching to electric cars is the creation of more jobs. A study conducted by the European Association of Electrical Contractors found that the shift to electric vehicles will create 200,000 additional permanent jobs by 2030. These are conservative estimates based on a mere 35% share of electric vehicles. Most of these jobs will be in small and medium-sized enterprises. Local and migrant workers will be equally eligible to fill these positions. Millions of migrants live and work in EU countries. They send remittances to support their families back home via trusted channels such as the . The creation of new jobs is very welcome news. A 2019 study by ScienceDirect titled ‘Technological Forecasting and Social Change’ further estimates that the global renewable energy sector will create 35 million jobs by 2050. About 17 million of these jobs will be in Europe.
Germany is leading the transition to a low-carbon economy. German manufactures such as Enercon, Nordex, Siemens, and Fuhrländer are now wind-powered. With more manufacturers turning to renewable energy, demand is continuously rising. Jobs involved with setting up and maintaining renewable energy installations are already growing. An analysis by Germany’s Institute for Employment Research found that this shift will create 70,000 new jobs in the country by 2030.
In addition to using renewable energy, the automotive sector is transitioning to electric vehicle production at scale. Volkswagen’s assembly line in Zwickau and Porsche’s factory in Zuffenhausen have been partially converted into electric vehicle plants without losing jobs. Christian Scheel of the German Carmaker’s Association urged the industry to promote reskilling to preserve current jobs while creating new ones.
France’s new environment policy is aimed at better exploitation of renewable energy sources. The Energy Transition Law defines the main objectives of this new energy model. France is on track to increase the share of renewable energy to 32% of final energy consumption by 2030. A joint report by EY and the French Trade Association stated that renewable energy could create 55% more jobs in 18 years. It estimates that the sector will increase employment from 152,000 in 2019 to 236,000 by 2028. The estimates by EURACTIV France are even more optimistic. It expects 330,000 new jobs in the renewable sector within the next decade.
French President Emmanuel Macron recently announced an 8 billion plan that includes a stimulus to the electric vehicles industry. He said that “the French government wants France to take a leading role in the European EV market.” As part of the plan, Renault-Nissan will partner with Peugeot to make electric vehicle batteries. Bloomberg analysts estimate a substantial rise in demand for workers in the electric auto industry, although they stopped short of putting a number to it.
The drive to transition to green and renewable energy is strong in the UK. The country is planning major investments in electric vehicles and carbon capture technology. A report by National Grid found that the UK will require 100,000 more workers if it wants to meet its climate targets. The number will exceed 400,000 by 2050. A shift to electric vehicles will further add jobs, particularly if the UK also invests in EV battery manufacturing. A 2019 study by Faraday Institution estimated the creation of 83,000 new jobs by 2040. 8000 of these jobs will be in electric vehicle manufacturing, and another 73,000 jobs will be in battery manufacturing and related supply chain activities.
Spain is accelerating its adoption of solar-powered photovoltaic (PV) energy. PV has been the driving force behind Spain’s boost in the green energy sector. Grid operator Red Eléctrica de España (REE) revealed that solar power generation in 2019 increased by 67.5% compared to the previous year. There was a simultaneous rise of 41.6% in hydropower generation. The European Investment Bank recently announced that it would give EUR 35 million to Spain’s largest electric utility Endesa to install EV charging stations throughout the country. This will certainly expand the job pool for a long time to come. A Cambridge Econometrics study concluded that the use of electric vehicles would create 23,185 new jobs by 2025.
Switching to renewable energy and electric modes of transportation is not causing any net job losses. On the contrary, it is creating millions of long-term jobs throughout Europe. The future is solar. Reskilling is essential to stay relevant.
Hemant G is a contributing writer at. When he’s not writing, he loves to travel, scuba dive, and watch documentaries.