The latest IRENA report states that the renewable energy sector was responsible for creating 47,000 new jobs in India and extending employment to 4,32,000 individuals. While a very positive development, these numbers are not surprising considering the fact 12 GW (gigawatt) of renewable energy capacity was installed by India last year (Jan-Nov), a 12% jump from 2016. As of May 2018, our country has the installed capacity of 69 GW.
The report also stated that the clean energy sector in China, Brazil, the United States, India, Germany, and Japan cumulatively led to the creation of 70 percent of all new green jobs. While the renewable energy sector in China led to employment for 3.8 million individuals, the Indian sustainable energy domain opened up employment opportunities to 4,32,000 Indians.
The primary sub-sector to watch out for is probably the solar photovoltaic segment having opened up almost 3.4 million jobs globally. Other segments have the maximum employment numbers are those of biofuels, hydropower (both small and large) and wind. With the BJP having committed to the Paris Climate Agreement 2015, the nation is geared up to install 175 GW of renewable power capacity by 2022. The goal is to power a 100 million, 100 watts light bulbs. This has surely been a precursor to the changes in the job landscape. That said, what is the extent of these repercussions? Will these new job opportunities be able to affect the poverty equation in India? How inclusive is this boom in green jobs for the majority of the Indian population?
An IndiaSpend report dated 20th December, 2017, in accordance with a World Resources Initiative (WRI) report, stated that to have any effect on the poverty and unemployment in rural pockets, there have to be enough stable permanent jobs and relevant benefits for contractual workers who are expected to contribute to 80% of the workforce. The jobs thus need to be expanded in terms of inclusivity to incorporate unskilled and semi-skilled workers in the renewable energy sector while also keeping an eye on gender diversity.
Rabia Ferroukhi, heading the Policy Unit at IRENA shared that “By providing policy-makers with this level of detail about the composition of renewable energy employment and skills requirements, countries can make informed decisions on several important national objectives, from education and training to industrial policies and labor market regulations.” These insights are thus aimed to help nations to plan the growth of the sustainable energy segment in a way that promotes inclusion.