The transition to renewable energy offers great opportunities for economic growth and employment. The International Energy Agency (IEA) shows that jobs related to clean energy manufacturing can double by 2030, from the current six million to almost 14 million.
In its Energy Technology Perspectives 2023 report, it underlines that the world market for manufacturing ‘green’ technologies can reach a value of around 650,000 million dollars per year (600,000 million euros) by the end of the decade, more than triple the current level. However, to reach that figure, countries around the world must “fully” comply with their announced energy and climate commitments.
The organization refers to the world market for the manufacture of clean technologies for solar panels, wind turbines, electric vehicle batteries, hydrogen electrolysers and heat pumps -with their respective supply chains throughout the world-. In this sense, Spain has launched itself to lead a project of community interest (IPCEI) for the manufacture of solar panels in Europe. The Spanish Photovoltaic Union (UNEF) calculates that 20,000 million euros of public and private investment can be deployed only in solar energy until 2030.
In addition, as far as wind energy is concerned, there are 250 manufacturing centers spread over 16 of the 17 autonomous communities. With a contribution of 3,106 million to the GDP (0.3%), around 30,000 people work in the sector, according to data from the Wind Energy Business Association (AEE). Now the focus is on offshore wind. The White Paper on the Offshore Wind Industry in Spain, prepared by employers in collaboration with Deloitte, estimates a direct contribution of the sector to GDP of 6,116 million euros for the period 2025-2030, considering a scenario in which 75% of the activities take place in the country.
Additionally, 1,860 million euros related to the operation and maintenance activities of the wind farms, ship construction, etc. would be added. In terms of employment, PREPA calculates that offshore wind technology will generate 7,523 new jobs also between 2025 and 2030 -17,438 specialized professionals by 2045
Going back to the IEA report, not everything is rosy. The analysis also raises a number of “risks” and encourages industrial strategies to be established for the ‘new’ world economy that poses the energy transition and decarbonization. It warns that there may be a high concentration in certain parts of the world, both in the manufacture of technology and in the exploitation of resources. In this sense, the report indicates that for technologies such as solar panels, wind energy, electric car batteries, electrolysers and heat pumps, the three largest countries represent producers of at least 70% of the manufacturing capacity for each technology, China being the dominant country.
It also indicates that much of the extraction of “critical minerals” is concentrated in a small number of countries. He gives an example to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which produces more than 70% of the world’s cobalt, and only three countries (Australia, Chile and China) account for more than 90% of the world’s lithium production. This is also traded in rising prices.
“Specifically, rising prices for cobalt, lithium and nickel drive the first-ever rise in electric vehicle battery prices, which will rise nearly 10% globally by 2022. The cost of Similar wind turbines outside of China have also been warned after years of declines, and trends can be observed in solar PV,” the document said.
Four trillion investment
On the other hand, with a more long-term vision and with an eye on achieving the full decarbonization of the economy by 2025, the IEA ensures that an investment of 1.3 trillion dollars must go from currently to around four trillion until the end. decade.
In the case of the European Union (EU), the climate plans of the Member States have become outdated in less than 1-2 years since their approval. They must update them in the next 12 months if the proposed transformation is to be achieved. The latest report from Monitor Deloitte, ‘Accelerating the transition and energy independence in the European Union’, highlights that in order to reach 80% renewable energy in the European electricity system, it is necessary to install an additional 385 gigawatts (GW) to the estimated 465 GW , which would mean a strong increase of 80%.
There are three countries that are the ones that should push the most since they have a very significant weight in the EU energy model. They are Poland, with 67% of its electricity generation based on fossil fuels in 2030, Italy (42%) and Germany (34%). These alone will be responsible for more than 60% of European emissions from the electrical system.