The study 'India's Expanding Clean Energy Workforce' highlights that most of the new jobs would be generated by small-scale renewable energy projects such as rooftop solar and mini and micro-grid systems compared to utility or large-scale projects like solar parks.
The study by the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW), Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Skill Council for Green Jobs (SCGJ) was released on Thursday.
The CEEW-NRDC-SCGJ analysis also highlighted the adverse impact of the pandemic on employment in the renewable energy sector. In comparison to 12,400 new workers employed in the sector in the year 2018-19, only 5,200 new workers were employed in 2019-20 and marginally better at 6,400 were employed in 2020-21.
In 2020-21, a majority of the new workers were employed in the rooftop solar segment, where annual capacity additions grew by nine per cent over previous year and accounted for 1.4 GW capacity. The study further found that India has successfully trained 78,000 people under the Surya Mitra training programme between 2015 and 2017 to improve the availability of skilled workers for clean energy projects.
These are exciting statistics in view of the 2030, 2050 and 2070 targets that India has set for itself in its action plan for combating the impacts due to changing climatic conditions. At the annual global climate change negotiations in November last year at Glasgow, UK, Prime Minister Modi had presented an ambitious agenda for India's contribution to the global efforts to combat climate change.
His vision of Panchamrit or five nectar elements involved installation of 500 GW non fossil energy capacity by 2030, reduction in emissions intensity of GDP by 45 per cent over 2005 levels, 50 per cent electric installed capacity coming from non-fossil sources by 2030, 1 billion tonnes reduction in carbon emissions till 2030 and India to become net-zero by 2070.
Most of the new capacities for electricity generation are expected to be based on solar and wind energy. "If India were to meet its commitments, then these two sectors could potentially create 3.4 million jobs over the next eight fiscal years which would employ a million people. However, jobs created are different from the workforce needed since one person could occupy more than one position," the study said.
"India's ambitious renewable energy targets provide an opportunity to deliver on jobs, growth and sustainability while transitioning to a low-carbon economy. The upcoming Union Budget must especially focus on scaling up rooftop solar, mini and micro grid systems, and domestic solar manufacturing to maximise the employment opportunities in the sector," CEO, CEEW, Dr Arunabha Ghosh said.