Increased greenhouse gas emissions, global warming, smog, ozone depletion, a decrease in the green belt across the globe and many other factors have necessitated the world to think of clean energy. With the rise of this awareness, green sector companies have seen growth across the globe. Once thought of as the primary answer to the globe’s renewable energy requirements, nuclear energy is now viewed unfavourably in comparison to solar and wind alternatives. An ideal example is that of Solar Chernobyl building a massive solar farm at the site of Ukraine’s 1986 nuclear disaster to provide renewable energy for those living nearby.
While the green push worldwide is evident, the need for the entire global community to come together to combat climate change remains just as prominent. The recently held Global RE-Invest also highlighted the importance of political commitment in driving the green energy revolution.
All this has led to larger manpower joining the green movement. Solar photovoltaic (PV) and wind industries are on a rising curve of being the largest employer today with India among the top six nations in terms of green energy job generation. As per the European Union, India has demonstrated a strong political engagement in climate change negotiations for the Paris Agreement. The EU is expected to further engage with India on energy security, efficiency, renewable energy sources (including solar and offshore wind, smart grids and off-grid systems), as well as on policies to develop an electricity system which can reliably integrate large shares of renewable energy.
India targets to add 175 GW of renewable energy by 2022 (100 GW from solar power, 60 GW from wind power, 10 GW from biomass power and 5 GW from small hydropower). A big credit of the strong progress it has made till date goes to the ever-expanding green workforce in India. Employment in solar PV increased by 36% in 2017 to reach 1,64,400 jobs. IRENA estimates put the total employment in the wind energy sector at 60,500. The job additions in the whole sector in 2016-17 alone stood at 4,32,000. The figures are a clear indicator of the employment potential of the sector. And given that renewable deployment is only going to increase, the sector will add a large quantity manpower in the near future. The next challenge, therefore, is to ensure that this need is answered qualitatively as well, in the form of skilled professionals.
Government is making efforts to cater to this requirement through Green Skill job council and is also pushing universities and institutes to design programs focusing on renewables. The government can inform about the need for renewables through school textbooks, universities can introduce many more short and long-term courses and the green sector companies can invest in both R&D and international collaboration. Plenty is being done to meet this world’s energy needs sustainably but plenty more can be done. Once this unexplored potential is tapped into, India will boast of a competent green workforce capable of leading us into a sustainable future smoothly and surely.
Contributed by Bhawna Kirpal Mital, GM – HR, Hero Future Energies