Renewable energy developers and financial institutions alike are finding a shortage of workers with the skills needed to support their ambitious growth plans according to Miguel Stilwell, chief executive officer at clean energy firm EDP.
The clean energy job market is becoming increasingly competitive and candidates with the right qualifications becoming harder to find. With over 3 million Americans employed by the clean energy industry as of 2020 and with an average of 95,000 new jobs being created each year the war on talent is here.
Positions that require technical, commercial, and financial skills such as asset management, project development, and origination are in high demand. Other roles that do not require industry-specific experience can easily be hired from other industries, however, many hiring managers are insistent on having industry-experienced candidates because they do not want transferable skills, but instant wins given the high growth of the industry is experiencing.
The US-made headlines at the United Nations Climate Change summit in Glasgow with US policymakers banking on the sector to create new jobs that are crucial for the post-pandemic economic recovery. Most notably, solar generation capacity is expected to triple by the end of the decade, while wind capacity is expected to more than double over the same period, according to research group BloombergNEF.
Recently the Biden Administration solidified clean energy as a major part of the US economy with the senate recently passing a $1Trillion infrastructure bill. What we are seeing is the US is continuing to wedge out traditional fossil fuels, which make up 1.2 million jobs in the US, to make room for clean energy jobs. However, as demand soars for jobs within the sector the competition for skilled and experienced workers will become increasingly competitive.
In a time of rapid change within the energy industry large oil companies, like BP and Shell have entered the renewable energy space in order to expand their influence and remain competitive. Traditionally these large Oil & Gas players have attracted and retained some of the best talent within energy. However, with new businesses entering the US energy industry, candidates are opting to work for businesses that they believe are making a social impact, which further increases the competition for skilled and experienced talent.
In the US businesses such as Avangrid Renewables, NextEra Energy, and Apex Clean Energy have won Power Purchase Agreements with businesses like Amazon and Google, and these businesses are attracting some of the best talent, which implicates that candidates want to work for large companies that are in growth mode and are positively impacting the planet.
As clean energy continues to grow in the US we will see green jobs move into states historically associated with Oil & Gas, such as Texas, which made up for more than a quarter of all corporate renewable energy deals signed around the world last year according to Green Tech Media. Currently, the future looks bright for businesses in the renewables space and the economy is counting on clean energy job seekers to further cement it into becoming one of the nation's major industries.
- E2. “Clean Jobs America 2021.” Accessed on September 22, 2021.
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