From Quartz Media
India’s major renewable energy push could be as much about poverty reduction and job creation as it is about energy security and climate change.
The Narendra Modi government aims to install 175 gigawatts (GW, 1 GW = 1,000 megawatts) of renewable energy capacity in the country by 2022—and this is expected to create over 330,000 jobs over the next five years.
“Although direct employment benefits will not be large, relative to India’s economy and its millions of poor citizens, the new jobs can make a difference to rural poor people, especially women, who have few formal sector employment opportunities,” according to a report (pdf) by the US-based World Resources Institute (WRI).
These opportunities could be in the skilled, semi-skilled, and unskilled categories, spanning functions such as construction, project commissioning and design, business development, and operations and maintenance, as per the report.
On average, a 10 megawatts (MW) or 25 MW solar power plant requires roughly 40 skilled and 80 unskilled employees throughout the project’s life-cycle; nearly 2.9 million workers would be required to meet the 100 GW power target, according to the report. Similarly, the WRI estimates the 60 GW wind energy target will create around 30,000 jobs.
Today, the clean energy sector in India employs an estimated 103,000 people in the solar power sector and around 48,000 in the wind sector, according to a report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
However, ensuring that the employment potential of the sector is realised requires decisive action.
“Unless decision-makers act, this growth (in the clean energy sector) will leave the rural poor behind, unable to attain the thousands of new jobs created. Now is the time for leaders in business and government to build a clean energy sector that delivers electricity and employment to poor communities across India,” Bharath Jairaj, the director of WRI India’s energy programme and lead author of the report, said in a statement.