Over 400,000 energy jobs needed to meet the UK’s 2050 net-zero goal


A new report from UK ESO National Grid claims that more than 400,000 jobs will need to be filled across the energy industry to help ensure the country reaches it’s legally-binding 2050 net-zero goal.

According to the report, the energy industry must increase low-carbon power generation by 50%, install low-carbon heating into 2.8 million homes, install over 60,000 charging points in order to power the 11 million anticipated electric vehicles (EVs) on UK roads, and develop carbon capture, usage and storage technology and hydrogen networks.

The grid operator hopes that climate change may motivate new talent, and based on recent YouGov poll, there’s an increasing interest in playing a positive role in helping the UK achieve net-zero, and tackle climate change. Of those polled 83% of women, and 73% of men are interested in playing an active role in the energy transition. Interestingly, over half of adults are specifically interested in working for companies that are helping achieve the country’s goal.

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Nicola Shaw, executive director at National Grid told news site Current News: “As the pathway to net-zero becomes clearer, so must our understanding of the jobs and skills we need to succeed.

“Our research shows that to deliver net-zero, the energy industry needs to recruit hundreds of thousands of people over the next thirty years – and that really is the tip of the iceberg in terms of the wider impact of net-zero across other industries.

“The time is now for the sector to rise to the challenge and overcome the long-standing issues we face in recruiting a diverse workforce with the right skills to deliver on the UK’s ambitions,” Shaw noted.

117,000 roles will need to be filled by 2030 according to the report, with a further 152,000 opportunities set to be created in the decade that follows, and a further 131,000 in the final decade to 2050.

Interestingly, approximately 260,000 of these will be new roles, created by the need to develop, build and upgrade low-carbon infrastructure.

The report notes that whilst the energy industry in the UK currently employs approximately 144,000 people, 20% of the current workforce is set to retire by 2030.

Diversity is a significant concern –  only 12% of energy sector workers are female, and as much as 75% don’t return to the sector following career breaks or maternity leave.

David Wright, a chief engineer at National Grid, said: “To build a skilled, diverse and motivated net-zero energy workforce that will tackle the global climate crisis, we’ve got to look at every stage of the pipeline. We must harness women’s motivation and do more to attract them into a sector they’ve historically turned away from.

“We must help the existing workforce to reskill while bringing new talent into the sector by showing the positive impact we can make in fighting climate change. At the same time, we must inspire the next generation to pursue STEM subjects at school and beyond, tapping into the passion we’re seeing in the school climate strikes.”

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