ISLAMABAD: Key findings of a new World Bank study estimate that new investments in grid-connected and off-grid renewable energy projects in Pakistan could generate more than 190,000 direct jobs and 137,000 indirect jobs by 2030.
The renewable energy industry provided around 14,000 direct jobs and more than 11,000 indirect jobs in 2020 against an installed base of 1,995 MW of grid-connected wind and solar projects and around 2,600 MW of off-grid solar PV installations , according to the “Renewable Energy Jobs and Sector Skills Mapping for Pakistan” made available to Dawn.
By 2030, new investments in wind and solar are expected to lead to a surge in renewable energy investment, increasing the demand for renewable energy workers at all skill levels. Following the path of the Integrated Generation Capacity Expansion Plan (IGCEP), new investments in approximately 3722 MW of grid-scale wind projects and 7533 MW of solar photovoltaic (PV) projects have the potential to deliver more 105,000 direct jobs by 2030.
The more ambitious renewable energy policy scenario has the potential to create more than 190,000 direct jobs in the renewable energy sector and an additional 137,000 indirect jobs in associated sectors. Although most direct jobs are temporary and last only during the project implementation period, the renewable energy industry could provide more than 14,000 permanent jobs through 2030.
The study notes that investments in renewable energy will create more jobs for semi-skilled workers with vocational skills and unskilled labour.
In all three scenarios, the aggregate demand for semi-skilled and unskilled workers accounts for around 75% of all jobs created between 2021 and 2030.
The study points out that education and vocational training infrastructure stretches across Pakistan, but the provision of renewable energy skills lags behind in regions with the highest wind and solar potential. Currently, only 4% of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutes in Sindh and 9% in Balochistan offer vocational training on renewable energy for semi-skilled workers. Similarly, only five universities in Sindh and one in Balochistan offer courses related to renewable energy.
Despite a recent slowdown in renewable energy investment, labor shortages in technical occupations persist due to a lack of experience in the field. More than 80% of renewable energy companies offer some form of in-house training to employees in technical roles. Renewable energy employment is marked by a heavy reliance on part-time or temporary workers and low female participation in technical and non-technical occupations, the study says.
Although the higher education and TVET delivery system stretches across Pakistan, systemic weaknesses in the skills delivery system have the potential to undermine the development of the RE workforce in the medium and long term.
The government has adopted ambitious national renewable energy targets under the Renewable Energy Policy 2019, which sets a growth trajectory for non-hydro grid-connected renewable energy, mandating at least 20% renewable energy. renewables in the country’s installed electricity generation capacity by 2025 and 30% by 2030.
The government simultaneously approved a comprehensive power generation capacity expansion plan, the Integrated Generation Capacity Expansion Plan 2021-2030. Since large hydroelectric plants make up the bulk of capacity additions in the IGCEP, new wind, solar and bagasse projects included in the IGCEP account for approximately 11,700 MW, compared to 16,300 MW of non-hydro renewable energy necessary to meet national renewable energy targets. .
Posted in Dawn, July 3, 2022