Renewables: The green, clean job machine

Reading Time: 2 minutes

solar energyA potent weapon of persuasion has been floating about the Asian Development Bank (ADB) this past week during the Asia Clean Energy Forum, held from June 25-28. It goes something like this: If you want to convince politicians to become bedfellows with green energy, it would be best to remind them that they will be able to score extra points by stoking private sector employment.

Renewable energy projects create more jobs than conventional energy, the ADB has declared. The reason being is that the renewable energy sector – be it hydro, solar, wind, geothermal, biomass or what have you – is much more labour intensive than the development of hydrocarbons.

“There are seven proposed biomass projects [in the Philippines] that could create 78,000 jobs,” Anna Abad of Greenpeace Southeast Asia said on June 28 during a breakaway session.

“The [Energy Development Corporation] hired 2,582 employees for the installed capacity of 1,189 megawatts of geothermal energy,” she said of the Philippines’ largest geothermal producer, which accounts for 60 per cent of the country’s total.

“Looking at an 8-megawatt hydro run-of-river facility, 1,000 people – including drivers, laboureres and panel workers – can be employed for three years. Once constructed, 30 people are employed,” she said.

Germany is often used as the renewable development benchmark. The European nation employs bout 248,000 people by renewables today, and increasingly the German public is now being influenced by the rise to personal invest in the energy, such as installing rooftop solar panels.

And like Germany, the Philippines has enacted the necessary policy measures to stoke investment in renewables – conveniently matching the country’s ambition to become a green energy powerhouse by 2020, reaching 15,000 megawatts in renewable energy, or half the projected total.

This vision is to be driven by the development of geothermal, which is targeted to reach 28 per cent of the projected 15,000 megawatts, followed by hydro at 22 per cent.

Challenges in implementing these projects and drumming up the private capital needed to fund them remain an issue, not just in the Philippines, but throughout Asia, where the perception that renewable energy development is not commensurately cost effective as it should be.

With the necessary policy frameworks in play, the Philippines government can feel safe in having fulfilled its part of the bargain to attract private capital. But some have derided this as a shadowy façade because the government only assists to implement the projects, but fails to drive mechanisms to guarantee maintenance is being provided – a large issue considering the haphazard state of the Philippines’ aging energy facilities.  Yet others feel that renewable energy laws aren’t even being implemented.

As Dan Millison, manager of Transcendary, an energy firm in the US, put it: Inciting a renewable energy revolution takes “innovation in imagination.”

Convincing influencers to get together into cooperation could create “tens of thousands of jobs” while reducing our carbon footprint. Imagine that.

 

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

A potent weapon of persuasion has been floating about the Asian Development Bank (ADB) this past week during the Asia Clean Energy Forum, held from June 25-28. It goes something like this: If you want to convince politicians to become bedfellows with green energy, it would be best to remind them that they will be able to score extra points by stoking private sector employment.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

solar energyA potent weapon of persuasion has been floating about the Asian Development Bank (ADB) this past week during the Asia Clean Energy Forum, held from June 25-28. It goes something like this: If you want to convince politicians to become bedfellows with green energy, it would be best to remind them that they will be able to score extra points by stoking private sector employment.

Renewable energy projects create more jobs than conventional energy, the ADB has declared. The reason being is that the renewable energy sector – be it hydro, solar, wind, geothermal, biomass or what have you – is much more labour intensive than the development of hydrocarbons.

“There are seven proposed biomass projects [in the Philippines] that could create 78,000 jobs,” Anna Abad of Greenpeace Southeast Asia said on June 28 during a breakaway session.

“The [Energy Development Corporation] hired 2,582 employees for the installed capacity of 1,189 megawatts of geothermal energy,” she said of the Philippines’ largest geothermal producer, which accounts for 60 per cent of the country’s total.

“Looking at an 8-megawatt hydro run-of-river facility, 1,000 people – including drivers, laboureres and panel workers – can be employed for three years. Once constructed, 30 people are employed,” she said.

Germany is often used as the renewable development benchmark. The European nation employs bout 248,000 people by renewables today, and increasingly the German public is now being influenced by the rise to personal invest in the energy, such as installing rooftop solar panels.

And like Germany, the Philippines has enacted the necessary policy measures to stoke investment in renewables – conveniently matching the country’s ambition to become a green energy powerhouse by 2020, reaching 15,000 megawatts in renewable energy, or half the projected total.

This vision is to be driven by the development of geothermal, which is targeted to reach 28 per cent of the projected 15,000 megawatts, followed by hydro at 22 per cent.

Challenges in implementing these projects and drumming up the private capital needed to fund them remain an issue, not just in the Philippines, but throughout Asia, where the perception that renewable energy development is not commensurately cost effective as it should be.

With the necessary policy frameworks in play, the Philippines government can feel safe in having fulfilled its part of the bargain to attract private capital. But some have derided this as a shadowy façade because the government only assists to implement the projects, but fails to drive mechanisms to guarantee maintenance is being provided – a large issue considering the haphazard state of the Philippines’ aging energy facilities.  Yet others feel that renewable energy laws aren’t even being implemented.

As Dan Millison, manager of Transcendary, an energy firm in the US, put it: Inciting a renewable energy revolution takes “innovation in imagination.”

Convincing influencers to get together into cooperation could create “tens of thousands of jobs” while reducing our carbon footprint. Imagine that.

 

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