Tuesday 28 January 2020 12:01 am

Energy sector needs to fill 400,000 jobs to reach net zero

The energy sector will have to recruit 117,000 people in the next decade if the UK is to hit its net zero targets by 2050.

According to new research by the National Grid, in total the UK will need to fill 400,000 jobs by 2050 to ensure it makes the transition successfully.

The total number combines both jobs which will need to be created, which number 260,000, whilst 140,000 will be to replace those who have left the workforce.

Over 100,000 of the jobs will become available in the north of England, whilst 48,000 new roles will need filling in Scotland.

In the next decade, 65,000 roles will be available for data analysts to forecast energy demand and engineers with expertise in renewables.

The remaining 52,000 will be needed to replace workers set to leave the sector, as 20 per cent of the current energy sector workforce is set to retire by 2030.

Nicola Shaw CBE, executive director of National Grid, said: “Britain reached a major milestone last year as we saw zero carbon electricity outstrip fossil fuels for the first time. But there’s still a long way to go. As the pathway to net zero becomes clearer, so must our understanding of the jobs and skills we need to succeed.

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“Our research shows that to deliver net zero, the energy industry needs to recruit hundreds of thousands of people over the next thirty years – and that really is the tip of the iceberg in terms of the wider impact of net zero across other industries.”

Business minister Kwasi Kwarteng, said: “Tackling climate change is not only saving the planet, but is significantly boosting our economy.

“As we work to reduce our emissions to net zero by 2050, the UK has the potential to support two million green-collar jobs across our world-class renewables sector, among other industries.”

According to industry body Energy UK, around 144,000 people are currently directly employed by the sector.

Making the transition to net zero by 2050 will involve a wholesale recalibration of the UK’s energy infrastructure, from increased electricity generation to low carbon heating systems and installing some 60,000 EV charging points.

National Grid, which partnered with Development Economics on the paper, said that in order to fill the roles available the sector will have to tackle challenges such as the loss of talent due to retirement and a limited pipeline of young people with STEM qualifications.

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