New modelling: The NEG will reduce energy jobs by thousands

AUSTRALIA could miss out on 20,000 potential jobs in the electricity sector under the Federal Government’s projections for the proposed National Energy Guarantee (NEG), according to new economic modelling from Ernst and Young (EY).

The independent EY modelling, commissioned by the Climate Council, confirms there will be significantly fewer jobs in the national electricity sector under the NEG, compared to Australia’s current projected energy employment levels in the sector.

The ‘Renewable Energy Jobs: Future Growing in Australia 2017 Supplement’ report shows that the NEG’s low-end projection of 28 per cent renewable energy in 2030 would result in 6,600 fewer jobs in the entire electricity sector, compared to ‘business as usual’. In addition, the modelling indicates there would also be 20,000 fewer jobs, compared to 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030.

Energy sector veteran and Climate Councillor Andrew Stock said the startling figures show that Australia’s booming renewables industry is at risk of grinding to a halt.

“The modelling shows the NEG would result in almost no large-scale wind and solar construction from 2020 onwards. New large-scale renewables are critical to creating new energy jobs, increasing power supply to reduce skyrocketing energy prices,” he said

Stock pointed to the significant hit state and regional economies will experience as a result of renewable energy project restrictions under the NEG, compared to 50 per cent renewable energy. The modelling highlights that New South Wales would be the hardest hit, with around 9,000 less net jobs in the electricity sector in 2030, followed by Queensland (4000) and Victoria (2,800).

“Regional Australian towns and cities are at risk of missing out on major economic boosts, with the construction of new large-scale renewable wind and solar projects plummeting after 2020 under the NEG,” he said.

Climate Council CEO Amanda McKenzie said the new economic modelling demonstrates the importance for Federal Government energy policy to set appropriate ambition.

“No matter what the policy is it must drive up renewable energy and drive down pollution. The ambition behind the NEG is too low to do either.”

The independent modelling comes as states and territories prepare to join the Federal Government to discuss the NEG at the COAG Energy Council this week.

KEY FINDINGS:

1. The Energy Security Board has projected that the NEG would result in 28-36% renewable energy by 2030. When compared to business as usual, 28% renewable energy in 2030 would mean:

  • 6,600 less net jobs in the electricity sector than business as usual (8% lower employment). This reflects fewer jobs in large-scale wind and solar farm construction and operation.
  • Less net jobs in the electricity sector in NSW (around 3,500), Queensland (around 600), and South Australia (around 300).

2. The NEG projection was also compared to 50% renewable energy by 2030, this is considered the minimum required for Australia to have a credible climate change policy. When compared to 50% renewable energy, 28% renewable energy in 2030 would mean:

  • 20,000 less net jobs in the electricity sector compared with 50% renewable energy (32% lower employment). This reflects fewer jobs in large-scale wind and solar farm construction and rooftop solar.
  • Less net jobs in the electricity sector in: New South Wales (around 9,000), Queensland (around 4,000), Victoria (around 2,800), South Australia (around 2,300) and Tasmania (around 300).

3. The 28% renewable energy NEG projection would result in negligible large-scale wind and solar construction from 2020 onwards.

  • As large-scale renewable energy projects are generally located in regional and rural areas, these areas would be impacted the most. The modelling projected no new coal capacity constructed during the 2020s, with some additional gas capacity added during the late 2020s.

The Climate Council commissioned EY to update modelling for the 2016 ‘Renewable Energy Jobs: Future Growth in Australia’ report using the Energy Security Board’s projections for the Federal Government’s National Energy Guarantee policy.

For more information or to access the modelling report from EY please contact Media Advisor Alexia Boland on 0430511068.

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