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With the importance of our environment's future in the balance, we like to keep our finger on the pulse of the latest renewable energy projects in the fight against climate change. The climate emergency is undoubtedly the biggest threat in the modern age. Governments, leaders, and ordinary people are trying to make their mark in creating a greener, cleaner, and more sustainable world. However, if we fail to act as a global population, then the consequences for our planet may be severe.
Through our global networks and dedicated renewable energy team, we monitor developments across the world. In this post, we want to note our takeaways from the recent and significant climate meeting Cop 27 from November, major current and upcoming worldwide renewable energy projects, and how these projects influence climate change and the renewable energy jobs market.
November of this year saw the annual gathering of world and business leaders for Cop 27 in Egypt. Nearly 200 nations were present for the discussions and negotiations for the future of global action on climate change.
A brief overview of the key takeaways from the summit includes:
'Climate Justice' Reparations - After many years of resistance, wealthier nations finally agreed to set up a fund to pay reparations to developing countries that have suffered from climate-driven environmental catastrophes such as storms, wildfires, floods, and storms.
Use of Fossil Fuels - The ongoing use of fossil fuels has been a contentious issue among the leaders at COP 27. The final deal from the summit has drawn criticism from some quarters for not doing more to reduce the use of fossil fuels. While the agreement has called for efforts to phase down the use of coal and phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies, some countries, such as France, Columbia, and Denmark, wanted to phase out, or at least phase down, all fossil fuels.
A Rekindled US and China Relationship - Xi Jinping and Joe Biden, the presidents of the world's two largest greenhouse gas emitters, agreed to cooperate again on climate after months of tension over Taiwan.
Increased Funds from Private Investors - The financial world has been accused of not providing enough funds to help countries cut their carbon emissions and help adapt their economies to the challenges brought on by global warming. At Cop 27, progress was made for a commitment from both public lenders, such as the World Bank, and private investors to invest in helping countries fight global warming, reduce fossil fuels, and increase renewable energy.
With nations waking up and promising to take action to help prevent the climate emergency, the number of large-scale renewable energy projects is only going to increase. As we move away from fossil fuels, the need for vast amounts of renewable energy, such as wind and solar, will be vital for our way of life. The building of these projects is going to create a job boom in the market. As a specialist renewable energy recruitment agency, we are here to play a vital role in finding high-quality talent across the industry.
To highlight the rise in jobs already taking place, global employment in the renewable energy sector reached 12.7 million in 2021, a jump of nearly 700,000 jobs. It is worth bearing in mind that this growth was despite the challenges brought about by Covid-19 and the growing energy crisis.
Next, we will explore five of the most significant current and upcoming global renewable energy projects that will help continue the jobs market boom and play a crucial role in the fight against climate change.
Located 120km off the Yorkshire Coast in the North Sea, Hornsea 1 is one of the world's biggest and arguably most famous wind farms. Hornsea 1 became fully operational in 2019 and supports a workforce of over 370 people. The wind farm contains 174 wind turbines and covers an area of 407 sq km. These wind turbines power over 1 million homes with clean and sustainable electricity.
Hornsea 1 was the biggest wind farm in the world until it was taken over by its sister farm, Hornsea 2, in August 2022. Spanning 462 sq km, Hornsea 2 is located 89km off the same coast in the North Sea and is positioned adjacent to Hornsea 1. The farm has 165 turbines and can provide power to 1.4 million homes. As well as providing energy, it has proven to have provided large numbers of jobs, as Duncan Clark, Head of Region UK at Orsted, commented:
'Current global events highlight more than ever the importance of landmark renewable energy projects like Hornsea 2, helping the UK increase the security and resilience of its energy supply and drive down costs for consumers by reducing dependence on expensive fossil fuels. Not only will Hornsea 2 provide low cost, clean energy for millions of homes in the UK, it has also delivered thousands of high-quality jobs.'
solar capacity is staggering. They are the largest producer of solar energy in
the world at 340GW. Since 2011, the country has invested over $50 billion in
new PV supply capacity. Moreover, China has set ambitious targets, and they
33% of the country's electricity to come from
renewables by 2025 and to be carbon neutral by 2060. However, it does have to
be noted that whilst they have these green ambitions, China is continuing to
coal-powered plants to aid its recovery after the Covid-19
With this significant investment and ambitions, it is no surprise that China is home to one of the world's largest solar parks, the Huanghe Hydropower Hainan Park. $2.2 billion has been invested in the park, which was connected to the grid in 2020. Located in the Qinghai province, the site powers cities in the east and south of the country, including Shanghai and Beijing.
The solar park is vital to China's remarkable renewable energy jobs markets. In 2021, China accounted for nearly half of the 12.7 million global renewable energy jobs. Despite the pandemic, 5.4 million people in China worked in renewable energy in 2021, up from 4.7 million in 2020. Solar is the biggest employer, with 2.7 million working in the sector in 2021.
At the start of 2022, the Pattern Energy Group's Western Spirit Wind power projects became operational.
Based in central New Mexico and comprising four wind power facilities, it is the largest renewable energy project in American history. Crucially, the project has connected remote and rural communities in central New Mexico with clean, sustainable, and renewable energy sources. Furthermore, the project has proven to renewable energy developers that large-scale renewables can be developed and built in the US. Mike Garland, CEO of Pattern Energy, commented:
'These projects create significant job opportunities and local economic investments. Western Spirit brought over 1,100 construction jobs to Mexico, generating local spending, tax revenue, and landowner payments in a remote area of New Mexico, and is now delivering enough renewable energy to meet the electricity needs of more than 900,000 Americans. The collaboration of our teams of workers around the state shows what can be achieved - building the largest single-phase wind project in the US in less than a year.'
As well as providing jobs during its construction, the project will provide jobs for 50 workers who will operate and maintain the facilities. It also has great economic benefits and is estimated to provide $3 million per year for the local area. This funding will directly contribute to improving the quality of service, infrastructure, and education in the area.
Currently under construction, the New England Solar and battery project will be Australia's biggest hybrid solar and battery storage facility. Located in Uralla, New South Wales, the project will produce around 1,800,000 megawatt hours of clean, renewable energy each year. This level of energy is enough to power more than 250,000 homes. In addition, the project is predicted to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 1.5 million tonnes of CO2 per year. This is the equivalent of taking 330,000 cars off the road every year. During its construction, it is expected to create up to 700 jobs and, after completion, 15 ongoing jobs over its 25-to-30-year lifespan.
The 2,000-hectare site of mostly cleared grazing land is located in the NSW government's New England Renewable Energy Zone. The Australian Energy Market Operator has identified this region as a priority for renewable energy development. Furthermore, the site is 1,000 metres above sea level and has high solar irradiance.
Located over 130km off the North East Coast of England, this new offshore wind farm can power 6 million British homes. It is being developed in three 1.2GW phases:
Each turbine on the farm can provide enough clean energy to power 16,000 households and save the equivalent of 9,000 vehicle emissions per year. Collectively these phases will make up the world's largest offshore wind farm, taking over from Hornsea 2. When it becomes fully operational in 2026, it will be able to provide around 5% of the UK's electricity.
This vital offshore wind project is already significantly impacting the UK's drive for a cleaner and more sustainable future. Simultaneously, it is creating vast amounts of skilled jobs. The construction and future operation of the farm are already supporting 1,250 new jobs.
With the climate emergency becoming an increasing focus for governments worldwide as they set ambitious targets to reduce carbon emissions and their use of fossil fuels, major renewable energy projects will become more and more common. This is particularly true of wind and solar, which many nations increasingly use for their energy supply.
The development of these projects will mean a significant increase in construction jobs in the industry and the workforce to run and maintain the farms. These projects will also add millions to local and national economies, helping develop infrastructure, services, and education. It is clear from events like Cop 27 that the future is green.
On the other hand, the need for non-renewable recruitment will be around for a while despite the green ambitions. As discussed earlier, China continues developing coal mines to recover the economy after the Covid-19 pandemic. Furthermore, the UK government has just announced plans for its first coal mine in three decades at Whitehaven, Cumbria. The mine will create 500 new jobs and produce 2.8m tonnes of coking coal, mainly used for steelmaking.
As we have seen in this article, the future of energy is undoubtedly green. So, for those exceptional candidates, you can support the achievement of carbon emission and fossil fuel targets by taking the next step in your renewable energy career. For our clients, our team is here to support you if you are looking to build a skilled workforce and experienced leaders for your next renewable energy project.
We provide expert renewable energy executive search services to help connect high-quality candidates with trusted clients from across the globe. For more information, visit our dedicated renewable energy recruitment page for the latest jobs and the contact details for our specialists.