From Elon Musk planning to build the world’s biggest lithium ion battery to Volvo’s announcement that all their new cars will be hybrid or electric starting in 2019. It’s clear that renewable energy and clean tech are moving away from the side-lines and into mainstream, which also reflects in a trend of growing demand for professionals and graduates within the sector.
According to the Department of Energy’s 2017 U.S. Energy and Employment Report about 14% of new jobs created last year in the US were within the energy sector. Of that, many are in either renewable energy, or in energy efficiency, which alone added 133,000 new jobs, or 44% of new energy jobs overall. The solar industry employed 374,000 workers in 2016, which represents a growth of 25%. There are an additional 102,000 workers employed at wind firms across the US and wind employment increased by 32%. The sector is going strong, but within the US still experiencing little support by policy makers.
China on the other hand, is currently piloting the largest carbon-trading system in the world. It is creating more green energy jobs, and at a faster pace, than anyone else. And it is at the forefront of electric vehicles. But both China and the US are in need of graduates as well as experienced professionals to further market growth.
So, what are the two countries doing differently? China has been giving consistent priority to environmental issues among at least the last 12 years-worth of Five Year Plans. But the Trump administration is still strongly supporting fossil fuels, even though solar makes up 39% of the new electricity generation capacity added in the U.S. last year.
Furthermore, the measures which are taken by the Trump administration seem like they are not completely thought through. Trump currently is, for example, pushing for protectionist measures against Chinese solar manufacturers, although the U.S. doesn’t have a significant presence in solar manufacturing (controlling about 2% of the market) and it potentially could hurt jobs in solar installation.
The sector is experiencing strong demand for international professionals with many different skillsets: electricians and engineers for the solar industry, chemists and data analysts for energy storage, and physicists for bioenergy.
This means many degrees and backgrounds are relevant for the renewable energy sector. If you are currently looking for a platform to showcase your skills to renewable energy companies, check out https://portal.e-nable.eu/ and create your free freelancer profile to get in touch with potential business partners.