Claim: 11,000 Renewable Energy Jobs at Risk in Australia

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

More evidence renewables are a political economic fantasy, and rely entirely on government fiat to survive.

Up to 11,000 renewable energy jobs could be lost under Morrison government policies

The job losses will be equivalent to the entire local coal industry if the renewable energy target is not replaced

Adam Morton Environment editor @adamlmorton
Thu 25 Jun 2020 03.30 AEST

Up to 11,000 renewable energy workers are expected to lose their jobs over the next two years under current government policies, according to a university analysis.

About 26,000 people are employed in renewable energy, but the study found this would fall to about 15,000 by 2022 under existing policies, including the Morrison government not replacing the national renewable energy target. The target, which requires energy companies to source about 23% of electricity from clean sources, was reached last year, triggering a 50% drop in large-scale renewable energy investment compared with 2018.

Conversely, renewable energy jobs would be expected to reach about 45,000 by 2025 under a “step change” scenario, set out by the Australian Energy Market Operator, consistent with the goals of the 2015 Paris agreement. The study says on this path employment in renewables would be likely to fall to about 30,000 as construction eased later this decade before rising again after 2030.

Read more:

I haven’t found a link to the UTS report (update – link to the report) which predicts 11,000 job losses, as far as I can tell UTS social media sites just link to the Guardian article, and the website is just a brochure. If anyone knows where to find a copy please post it in comments.

I feel sorry for people who trusted the promise of government support for renewable energy. Losing your job, especially in difficult times is never a good thing.

But the level of government support the renewable industry appears to require in my opinion demonstrates renewables are a significant drag on the economy. If the government decides to continue to support renewables, the economic drain of supporting renewables will make the recovery from the Covid crisis harder for everyone else.

Update (EW): h/t Lee – the report is available here.

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June 26, 2020 2:18 am

This will be an splendid opportunity for the 11,000 (?) retrenched workers to go out and get real jobs doing something of value for society instead of assisting crony capitalism to rip off the general population.

Reply to  nicholas tesdorf
June 26, 2020 10:07 am

There 26K jobs and 11K are losing their jobs.

It takes longer to dig a hole than to fill it in, so it appears that the 11K were the ones filling in the hole.

Since the hole diggers were actually creating something (holes) they have opted to retain the most productive of the “sustainable energy workforce”.

What I don’t understand is why they don’t just reassign the 11K worth of hole fillers … they could have 26k worth of hole diggers and holes galore. The sustainability would be mind-blowing.

Reply to  DonM
June 26, 2020 12:47 pm

They may even find some coal ! Hole diggers used to be employed as coal miners.

Bryan A
Reply to  Greg
June 26, 2020 7:30 pm

Problem is … The old hole diggers, group “A”, and the new hole diggers, group “B”, would be producing too many A-holes and not enough B-holes
Evident by the preponderance of B-holes in climate policy and the masses of A-holes in climate activism

Reply to  Bryan A
June 27, 2020 3:34 am

Remember the advice given about job creation.
If they are digging holes, make them do it with spoons.

Reply to  Greg
June 30, 2020 4:35 pm

In Western Australia, holes
can find gold.

Komrade Kuma
Reply to  nicholas tesdorf
June 26, 2020 4:31 pm

The obvious conclusion is that the so called renewables sector is just plain bloated. That’s the sort of outcome you get when there is a government subsidy/green-red tape support framework for an otherwise unsustainable sector. Bring on the weight loss program.

Reply to  lee
June 26, 2020 4:47 am

From the paper – “The fact that renewable energy will create more jobs than the local coal sector should not be taken as evidence that these job losses don’t matter or that renewable
jobs will simply provide replacement work for the sector. Without planning and investment, the social and economic consequences within coal regions are likely to be
severe as their economies are heavily dependent on the commodity – especially when the coal export sector declines as this is the larger source of income and

So exports will decline in the face of more coal plants.??

George Tetley
June 26, 2020 2:56 am

See nothing changes !
It was once said to me about 30 – 40 years ago
“Australian and or conmen “

Ron Long
June 26, 2020 3:09 am

Looks like the Tie Me Kangaroo Down people have started to recover their senses. Any country promoting renewable nonsense, at taxpayer expense, to conform with the Paris Agreement, deserves to suffer a difficult time. My personal experience with Australian Pilots (Vietnam) and Drillers (Argentina) had left me believing Ozzies are a roll up your sleeves and get it done type, now it’s starting to come back. Nice story to start off my day, thanks, Eric. Stay sane and safe (and cover your ears when an Australian Driller starts swearing).

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Ron Long
June 26, 2020 3:25 am

“Ron Long June 26, 2020 at 3:09 am

My personal experience with Australian Pilots (Vietnam) and Drillers (Argentina) had left me believing Ozzies are a roll up your sleeves and get it done type,…”

Once upon a time…

Reply to  Patrick MJD
June 26, 2020 6:01 am

The ones that work in the real economy that grows, mines and makes stuff still are.

But we are being swamped by inner city arts and humanities graduates who only learnt how to get government (and parent) funding for studies of no use outside the woke bubble.

Reply to  Patrick MJD
June 26, 2020 6:09 am

Agree Patrick – those were the days – when men were men and women were women and both genders knew which toilet to go to.

4 Eyes
Reply to  Patrick MJD
June 26, 2020 5:02 pm

Once upon a time… when the rigs were made of wood and the men were made of steel.

Reply to  Patrick MJD
June 27, 2020 5:04 am

yeah cos now you cant roll sleeves up thats an ohs breach risking skincancer
longsleeved shirts trousers not shorts always a hat n sunscreen
by the time you follow the bloody rules youre too hot n sticky to DO the damned job
its taken near 60 yrs but theyve managed to ruin just about every workplace productivity and enjoyment of working.
cant even ride a pushbike wout a dorky cumbersome helmet
I sold my bike when that law came in
I can ride a horse without a helmet..unless I am a ponyclub or riding club memeber.

absolutely LOVING the new fees adjustments for the useless subjects like humanities arts etc to be raised to the normal useful courses
and the expensive serious ones reduced to get more real skills back

Reply to  Ron Long
June 26, 2020 12:22 pm

But now –
“poor fella my country”

Eric Vieira
June 26, 2020 3:09 am

As one would say in German: better to have an end with horror, than horror without an end…
“lieber ein Ende mit Schrecken als ein Schrecken ohne Ende”

The sooner they stop wasting the money, the earlier it will be invested in technologies that really work…
Jobs in renewables are not much better than most government positions: mostly unproductive.

Steve Richards
June 26, 2020 3:18 am

“The target, which requires energy companies to source about 23% of electricity from clean sources, ”

Is ‘Clean energy’ the new name in town? I just saw a news item on skynews uk this morning. A chap was being interviewed. He was from an investment house that specialised in ‘Clean energy’!!!

The constant build and dump of both wind and solar is no more clean that conventional power.

Richard (the cynical one)
Reply to  Steve Richards
June 26, 2020 5:51 am

The basic principles of Newspeak were laid out years ago by Orwell. ‘Clean energy’ is classic. George would be bursting with pride.

June 26, 2020 3:25 am

The Greens are trying to sell us a scenaro of a future problem, which they claim must be tackled right now. Whereas we are vastly more concerned withe a present major problem of the virus.

Perhaps its the final end to the myth of climate change being a problem.


June 26, 2020 3:25 am

“The link to the guardian article was just a brochure“, sounds about right for the guardian.

Solar and wind aren’t renewables, they are “depleteables”, with reducing energy output over time until requiring total replacement after 15-20 years.

Sadly all we get out of hydro projects in Australia these days are pumped hydro. Better off renaming Turnbulls Snowy 2.0 pumped hydro project to Snowy Negative, reflecting the amount of power it generates.

Then it would be time to build new hydro dams and infrastructure that actually generate net power, nation building projects, just like the original still functioning Snowy hydro project that was built back in the 1940s.

Reply to  DPP
June 26, 2020 6:04 am

Better off renaming Turnbulls Snowy 2.0 pumped hydro project to Snowy Negative

An appropriate legacy for Malcolm Turncoat.

Patrick MJD
June 26, 2020 3:26 am

Is that smoke in the distant background?

Carl Friis-Hansen
Reply to  Patrick MJD
June 26, 2020 4:37 am

No, it is the much feared GHG H2O – I guess

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Patrick MJD
June 26, 2020 4:39 am

It looks like a conventional powerplant is in the background of the picture.

Tom Abbott
June 26, 2020 4:32 am

From the article: “Conversely, renewable energy jobs would be expected to reach about 45,000 by 2025 under a “step change” scenario, set out by the Australian Energy Market Operator, consistent with the goals of the 2015 Paris agreement.”

So how much does each one of these new jobs cost the Australian taxpayer?

Why doesn’t the Australian government just subsidize every industry? That ought to create even more jobs.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Tom Abbott
June 26, 2020 5:02 am

“Tom Abbott June 26, 2020 at 4:32 am

Why doesn’t the Australian government just subsidize every industry? That ought to create even more jobs.”

They do. GM Holden for example. Trouble is all that subsidy went to GM USA, not a penny was spent in Australia. So much so that for every car made by GM Holden in Aus, about AU$10,000 was a taxpayer subsidy sent to GM USA. It’s why the LNP party under Abbott asked if GM “was staying”. In 2016 GM pulled the plug as the Australian Govn’t said “No!” to subsidies (Basically).

Reply to  Tom Abbott
June 26, 2020 6:38 am

Before long, we will all be working for the government. Half the population will fill out forms that the other half of the population ignores.

Reply to  MarkW
June 26, 2020 9:08 am

Itll be like Sweden, where half the women are employed outside the home in daycare centers taking care of other women’s children, and doctors average about 1800 hours per year because it’s not worthwhile for them to pay someone to paint their house.

Jim B
Reply to  MarkW
June 26, 2020 11:06 am

India had the same problem about 50 years ago. Too many college grads for the socialized economy could employ. Then they tried free enterprise and solved the problem.

June 26, 2020 4:34 am

“We surveyed a group of people with a vested interest in renewables how many jobs they’d like the Govt to fund … then we called it a study.”
Only the Guardian would publish such propaganda.

June 26, 2020 4:35 am

How many manufacturing jobs ( car building etc.) have been lost dut to Australian government policies over the last several years?

Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
June 26, 2020 4:37 am

If it’s jobs you want, get rid of the solar panel entirely and set all the unemployed to work pedaling bicycle generators.

Bruce Cobb
Reply to  Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
June 26, 2020 5:17 am

Or, better yet, have a small percentage go around breaking windows. The rest can set to work repairing them. Think of the economic boost! Never mind where the money comes from. Stop it.
Problem solved!

June 26, 2020 4:58 am

They talk about all these renewables jobs. I can’t help but wonder if they’re including the mining, processing and manufacturing jobs in China before the product even arrives here. The local solar plant, 87mw went up in around eight months. Most of the jobs were in construction, around 150 jobs went to backpackers. The site went live last year. I don’t believe there are any full time staff on site. Lee (see second comment) has given us a link which has alot to say about jobs. I didn’t read the whole PDF but they are a little vague and the management looks to be top heavy. I’d say that’s where most of the money goes, to the people who sold us out to the Chinese.

June 26, 2020 5:52 am

Well, they need people to clean them, don’t they? Or does all the rain out there keep the dust and dirt reliably washed?

June 26, 2020 5:52 am

Just saw this on Jo Nova

5:30pm 26/6/202

NSW: 95% COAL, 4% gas, solar 0%, Wind 1%

Qld: 76% COAL, 18% Gas, 4% hydro, solar 0%, wind 1%

Vic: 68% COAL, 19% hydro, 13% gas, wind and solar ZERO%

SA: 100% GAS

Reply to  fred250
June 26, 2020 2:44 pm

It’s quite common for one state to have low wind output for several hours.
However last week, the entire country has been virtually windless.
Yesterday, Friday 26th June, South Australia and Victoria has zero wind.

June 26, 2020 5:55 am

I have friends in Australia. They’re making a car payment for electricity every month.

Apparently the straw has broken the camel’s back.

The southeastern US city I live in, currently about 200,000 people, created a utility system over a hundred years ago. It owns two natural gas energy plants and a half interest in a clean coal plant. Revenue after allowing for utility needs goes to the city general fund.

We added a fiber-to-the-home city utility about 10 years ago. It provides internet, cable and phone services competitively. Profits go to the utility and the general fund. Unlike other cities we did not rely on a federal grant for the project.

We are not laying off anyone.

June 26, 2020 6:17 am

23% renewables electricity- this is a made up annual number that probably includes hydro.
Right now, here in Melbourne, Victoria it has been a cold dark day.
For the last six hours there has been no sun or wind. ZERO electricity production from solar or wind. The gap must be made by fossil fuels and hydro.

Serge Wright
June 26, 2020 6:22 am

This is actually a good news story. You want your people employed using energy to create productivity capacity, rather than be engaged in producing energy that is not useful or affordable, which becomes lost productivity and added overhead cost to the economy. The reality of this situation is that 11,00 workers engaged in a wasted effort will now be able to become productively engaged in using useful energy to generate wealth for the economy.

June 26, 2020 6:47 am

Cheaper energy from renewables AND creation of more jobs in the energy sector appears to be an economic contradiction.

The cost of a product/service is the sum of all wages/salaries and financial payments upstream of the purchase. Even taxes become the take home pay for someone else.

(NOTE: Economic growth comes from the speed at which you can pass it on and the number of people involved which complicates my initial simplistic view described here.)

If renewable energy sources are cheaper than other sources then logically they would have a smaller pool of money to pay wages of manufacture, installation, connection and operation. The only way for new renewable energy to create more jobs than the status quo is:
A) The increased jobs are based on lower wages per job; and/or
B) the additional jobs are brief and you are left with more unemployed after the transition; and/or
C) lower energy costs increase production and increase economic growth that increases energy demand and increase environmental footprint (same $ buying more power); and/or
D) Renewable energy sources are not cheaper but take more resources to make, install, connect and/or operate.

Can someone please explain how they promise more jobs from less money?
Are we creating more jobs for low paid workers in other countries?
Or is the truth that green energy costs more?

Dudley Horscroft
Reply to  tygrus
June 26, 2020 8:47 pm

We are creating more jobs for lower paid workers in other countries.

We export coal to China, China pays us in dollars. We use the dollars to buy solar panels and windmills from China. China uses their lower paid workers to make the solar panels and windmills. When we install them, we use less coal, so we can send more to China. And China can use the coal in new coal burning power stations to make cheap electricity so China can make more solar panels and windmills – and also make other products more cheaply than we can make them, so putting our workers who would otherwise be employed in making these products out of a job.

It is a lovely circular process designed to make China richer and Australia poorer.

June 26, 2020 6:49 am

The goal of best of breed solar PV producers is labor reduction with highly automated production and shipping robots. The goal of lowest cost (LCOE) utility scale PV site developers is labor cost reduction through new bracket designs and even auto loaders for panel mounting on long tracks. Let those facts be your guide in seeing through the jobs argument of lobbyists in supporting the high cost players and producers. This is an easy one to see through with a little homework. They are playing off ignorance with this spin argument.

June 26, 2020 7:21 am

What the article seems to be saying is that 11000 construction jobs will be lost because of the change in government subsidy. It’s claiming that those construction jobs are ‘renewable energy jobs.’

tsk tsk
June 26, 2020 7:46 am

I feel sorry for people who trusted the promise of government support for renewable energy. Losing your job, especially in difficult times is never a good thing.

I don’t. Do you pity the taxman who loses his job? Or the mugger?

June 26, 2020 8:07 am

6000 Qantas employees to be axed, 8,000 virgin jobs to go … that is 14,000 jobs going and we wouldn’t spend $5B to save them …. going to be a hard sell to taxpayers to spend what at least 20 times that to save 11,000 jobs.

Reply to  LdB
June 26, 2020 9:22 am

That’s why the voters will never be consulted.

Bryan A
Reply to  LdB
June 26, 2020 7:33 pm

So much for finding a Virgin in Australia

June 26, 2020 8:51 am

Lemme guess…Brian Caffyn is going to organize a violent protest and send in the Mafia too and name his other twins Tom Brady.

Australia should be aware of this criminals background.

After his “Mars Hill adventure” he had better not ever cross my path.

Michael Jankowski
June 26, 2020 10:11 am

Joe Biden knows they can be re-trained to code.

June 26, 2020 1:15 pm

A classic case of “live by the sword, die by the sword”

June 26, 2020 3:34 pm

Renewable jobs ? as we have seen over the years, claims about climate/renewables come in two types. Those that have failed to eventuate and those that have yet to fail to eventuate.

June 26, 2020 4:15 pm

Classic alarmist drivel. You have 26,000 jobs in renewables and under Morrison’s plan there will be 30,000 and this means 4000 more people working in renewables but this means 15000 people jobs are lost. It’s like the funding cuts that are claimed by the ABC are in fact against a background of the same funds being spent. It’s the inflated expectations of activists that needs reining in.

John Pickens
June 27, 2020 2:22 am

They need to replace the “renewable” project. In exactly what way is a wind turbine or PV array renewable? It is a sunken cost system with a 15 to 25 year life span which is uniquely NON-recyclable and doubles or triples the end user electricity cost. I’m certain that these high energy costs will eliminate far fewer jobs than they create. It is simple Thermodynamics and Economics.

Replace the project with an energy cost reduction project. Invest in efficiency and distribution cost reduction projects and systems. Eliminate things which contribute to high energy costs.

Make it government policy to reduce and stabilize electricty and fuel prices, and create jobs and prosperity.

June 27, 2020 5:47 pm

Solar power is no good for supplying the energy needs of a country , great for supplying power for a spacecraft or ontop of your motor home. Especially if it is heavily subsidised . If anything has to be subsidised it is uneconomic . Market forces (capitalism) must prevail if not huge distortions appear and the whole thing collapses . Australia’s only option (obviously) is Nuclear power . It has the Uranium , plenty of isolated space , low earthquake enviroment , highly skilled and educated workforce , its a no brainer !! All they will have to do is get past the Chernobyl/Fukishima mindset which is easy with modern reactor designs that can make a Power plant nearly 100% safe .

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