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Future skills and job creation with renewable energy in India

Neeraj Kuldeep, Poonam Nagar Koti, Arjun Dutt, Tanmay Bishnoi, Abhishek Dalal
October 2019 | Renewables

Suggested citation: IASS, TERI, CEEW, and SCGJ. 2019. Future Skills and Job Creation with Renewable Energy in India. Assessing the Co-benefits of Decarbonising the Power Sector. Potsdam: IASS, New Delhi: TERI.

Overview

This study analyses the employment effects of different plans for expanding power generation in India. It analyses four different scenarios for development of the power sector with varying shares of renewable energy: Business-as-usual (BAU), Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) NDC PLUS and the International Renewable Energy Association (IRENA) REmap scenarios. The study presents a value-chain-based approach by developing employment coefficients to analyse the workforce involved at various stages of the entire life cycle of different power generation technologies. It also provides an initial assessment of the skill requirements, attainment levels and technical training required for India’s present power sector plans and future low-carbon power sector ambitions.

Key findings

  • In all scenarios, the workforce required in the Indian power sector will increase considerably and may reach 3.5 million by 2050.
  • Renewable energy technologies tend to be more labour intensive than conventional energy technologies. Distributed renewables such as small-scale hydro, rooftop solar and biomass create maximum employment for every MW of installed capacity. Rooftop solar employs 24.72 persons, small hydro employs 13.84 persons and biomass employs 16.24 persons for constructing and running a 1 MW plant.
  • The renewable energy sector will be the largest employee in the future in Indian power sector. In 2020, 264,000 supplementary renewable energy jobs can be created by shifting from the BAU scenario to the NDC scenario. Under the RE map scenario, more than 3.2 million people would be employed in the renewable energy sector by 2050.
  • Biomass and solar energy will be the major drivers of employment, with up to 2 million and 1.1 million employees, respectively, by 2050.
  • Skilling is the primary future challenge. According to the NDC PLUS scenario, India would require 143,000 skilled experts and approximately 410,000 semi- and low-skilled technicians in the solar sector. This number would increase to 250,000 skilled jobs and more than 850,000 semi- and low-skilled technicians under the REmap scenario.
  • In the coal-mining sector alone, approximately 105,000 jobs have been lost due to mechanisation between 2000 and 2015.

Key recommendations

  • Increase the share of renewables in the power sector to boost the net employment (measured in full-time employees) by an additional 30 per cent by 2030.
  • Electrify the rural areas in the country with distributed renewable energy technologies, such as small hydro, rooftop solar and biomass, to achieve an employment impact per installed capacity about 25 times greater than fossil-fuel based power generation.
  • Manage the scenario of a 52 per cent expected decline in coal-sector based employment between 2020 and 2050 to mitigate negative impacts on displaced workers and communities

In all scenarios, the workforce required in the Indian power sector will increase considerably and may reach 3.5 million by 2050.

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