Harmony or Discord: Can Sustainable Development and Employment Sing in Tune

The aim of sustainable development through advanced economic development is directed currently towards deploying renewable energy. Improving energy security, access to energy and mitigating climate change are key focuses of sustainable development. Such development is solely possible when sustainable energy resources are used and access to affordable, reliable, sustainable energy is ensured. The renewable energy sector is predicted to have the highest level of domestic job opportunities over the following years.

To review critically, it is essential to have a look at the current statistics of employment opportunities for citizens in renewable energy in India and across the world.

The annual review of the IRENA depicts renewable energy employment at 10.3 million jobs in 2017, with an improvement of 5.3% from the previous year. Although a significant change is witnessed, a handful of countries, China, Brazil, the USA, India, Germany and Japan have taken the lead in this sector. In solar PV employment (3.4 million jobs), China is the leader (65% of PV jobs) which is followed by Japan, USA, India, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Germany, Philippines and Turkey.

To view the employment generated in the biofuel sector (1.9 million jobs) Brazil is the leader (41% of PV jobs) followed by the USA, Columbia, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, China and India. In wind employment (1.1 million jobs), China is the leader (44% of PV jobs) followed by Germany, USA, India, UK, Brazil, Denmark, the Netherlands, France and Spain.

With the statistics provided in the above sustainable energy sectors, the findings comprise that most of the employment is contract based and the employees do not hold permanence in job security. A significant rate of continuous work directly affects the poverty level, bringing it down drastically. Most of the employees coming from the poorer sections do not have sufficient training and skills thus fail to be competent enough to be enrolled for the job. The incorporation of ownership opportunities among the citizens and women led development is still lacking in these sectors. The inadequacy of data becomes a challenge to build relationships between employment in renewable energy and poverty mitigation.

The following recommendations for renewable energy employment can hold in harmony both sustainable development and employment opportunities. The most attention is required in training and empowering the poor in operation and maintenance. Development and training programs must be ensured to the citizens with minimal education and training, who are not compatible with the current programs, which is a restriction for their involvement in renewable areas. 

Networking and building connections among the training and renewable power companies to guarantee that trained employees are given appropriate positions during and after the completion of their studies. Research and poverty impact assessments must target poverty reduction. Fostering ownership in renewable projects will contribute to the growth of this sector.

The current challenges posed to the sector of employment do hold a certain amount of discord but less than the future scope that the sustainable development sector provides for employment. There is a strong sense of harmony established between the two.

The only technology that helps to create a plethora of business and employment opportunity while promoting the green environment, is serving good for the society and, therefore, sustainability.

Written by: William Santosh | Edited by: Nandni Ranpara