India’s Clean Energy Sector Aims To Generate 330,000 New Jobs: Report

The Union Government is planning to set up 160,000 Megawatt (Mw) of fresh renewable energy generation capacity in the five years between 2017 and 2022.

renewable energy

More than 330,000 new jobs are likely to be generated from India’s growing renewable energy sector over the next five years, according to US-based global research organisation World Resources Institute (WRI).

The Union Government is planning to set up 160,000 Megawatt (Mw) of fresh renewable energy generation capacity in the five years between 2017 and 2022 in a bid to improve energy security, enhance energy access and help mitigate climate change.

WRI in its latest report, “Can Renewable Energy Jobs Help Reduce Poverty in India,” said clean energy initiative can help address poverty in rural communities by providing steady incomes, healthcare benefits and skill-building opportunities for semi-skilled and unskilled workers. For India’s rural poor, especially women, these clean energy positions also offer a lucrative alternative to subsistence farming.

Bharath Jairaj, Director of WRI India’s energy program, who is also the lead author of the report, said, “Wind and solar growth can be a win-win opportunity for India helping the country secure a clean energy future while tackling poverty. Unless decision-makers act, this growth will leave the rural poor behind, unable to attain the thousands of new jobs created. Now is the time for leaders to build a clean energy sector that delivers electricity and employment to poor communities across India.”

India’s clean energy sector has a unique opportunity to establish itself as a role model for job creation in developing countries around the world. Renewable energy workforce comprises solar installers, maintenance workers, engineers, technicians and performance data monitors.

According to the report, unskilled and semi-skilled workers in rural areas face entry barriers to clean energy employment and that training programs have failed to mitigate these issues. “Renewable energy employers interviewed for the study said that unskilled workers lack the technical and soft skills needed to succeed in full-time positions. Most training institutes refuse to admit applicants without a secondary school education, locking out the 60 per cent of poor Indians who are either illiterate or received just a primary school education,” the report said.

The report highlights several training programs are in urban centers, far from rural communities where most of country’s poor families live. Also, Women face unique, further gendered challenges and household duties, childcare obligations and gender norms make it almost difficult for them to contribute in training programs.

Pamli Deka, Manager of WRI’s Electricity Governance Initiative and co-author of the report, said, “Even when poor Indians overcome obstacles to attend training programs, the institutes’ curricula do not often align with industry needs, making it difficult for graduates to secure good-quality jobs. In fact, we found many clean energy employers prefer to train people they hire because they believe that the training institutes fail to provide the required and relevant skills.”

The report endorses that private sector leaders should build the capacity of unskilled and semi-skilled workers to ensure the sustainability of renewable energy projects and give rural communities a sense of ownership in off-grid projects thereby motivating local workers to maintain the programs and invest in their growth. In addition, the government should create public training programs to prepare the poor and less educated people — those typically shut out from training institutes and full-time positions – for employment in the clean energy sector.

Source: ET

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