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Australia is set to adopt the United States’ gold standard of measuring energy sector jobs with the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources (DISER) announcing iplans to deliver the inaugural Australian Energy Employment Report (AEER).

This survey will identify jobs and skills in the energy sector to train and prepare the workforce of the future.

Clean energy is a multi-billion-dollar sector that employs hundreds of thousands of Australians.  However, the jobs across the whole energy sector including renewable energy and energy efficiency have never been systemically counted.

The AEER is a key outcome of research by the Reliable Affordable Clean Energy Cooperative Research Centre (RACE for 2030) 2021 report:

Developing the Future Energy Workforce RACE for 2030’s CEO, Jon Jutsen said it is a crucial time for Australia to understand employment in the energy sector.

He said the clean energy transition will cause a dramatic shift in employment.

“New skills and resources are needed to ensure the transition provides the greatest employment opportunities, and benefits Australia both environmentally and economically,” Jutsen said.

“To date, there has not been a systemic national framework to measure or forecast Australia’s clean energy jobs needs.

“The AEER is an important step in addressing this gap and will allow both industry and government to capture the economic opportunities as the Australian energy sector transitions to net zero carbon emissions. “

Last year the Climate Council released a Clean Jobs Plan which identified 12 policy opportunities to immediately kick-start economic growth.

Collectively, these opportunities represent 76,000 jobs, one third of the jobs require minimal training and 40 per cent of the jobs are in regional areas.

The plan found investment in pilot-scale green hydrogen facilities would unlock $4 for every dollar of public investment while utility-scale renewable energy unlocks $3 for every dollar invested.

Investing in electric vehicle infrastructure, improving the collection and processing of organic waste, and community scale energy and storage, would all unlock $2 for every dollar invested.

Another industry set to generate up to 7,600 jobs annually is green hydrogen.

Australia’s National Hydrogen Strategy aims to position this industry as a major global player by 2030.

It is also part of Australia’s plan to meet its net zero emissions target by 2050.

A hydrogen enabled economy can activate options for decarbonising Australia’s  gas, freight, transport, and industrial sectors and create a significant new export industry.

According to the federal government hydrogen could add around $11 billion each year to the national economy by 2050.

Each state and territory has a strategy for the development of the hydrogen industry and the increased use of hydrogen.

There are currently more than 61 hydrogen development projects operational or underway in Australia and over $1.5 billion in investment in hydrogen research and development.

To ensure Australia has the necessary skills base for this transformation, the gas industry reference committee is identifying job roles and assessing current workforce capability.

Reference committee chair, Michael Broomhead, said the transition to green hydrogen will be simple because Australia’s gas industry already has many of the skills required.

“Because of the high level of skill within the Australian gas industry we didn’t have to create new units of competency just ensure workers have an increased awareness of the different properties of hydrogen,” he said.

“Our analysis indicated that core gas skills did not differ radically between the gas types, but things like pressurisation levels, instrument calibration etc did. So, we did not need to burden workers with the need to undertake entirely new units of competency, but to broaden their knowledge of the different characteristics and properties of the gases they may encounter.”

 

 

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