So­lar’s got power to grow

Whitsunday Times - - ADVERTISING FEATURE - — Cara Jenkin

THE growth of re­new­able en­ergy has led to 4105 jobs be­ing cre­ated al­ready this year across Aus­tralia.

Clean En­ergy Coun­cil chief ex­ec­u­tive Kane Thorn­ton said a string of large-scale so­lar pro­ject an­nounce­ments made since Fe­bru­ary had pushed the num­ber of di­rect jobs cre­ated this year in the de­vel­op­ment of so­lar, wind and other re­new­able en­ergy projects to 4105, in a record­break­ing year for new in­vest­ment in the sec­tor.

Mr Thorn­ton said ag­ing coal-fired power sta­tions were clos­ing, so build­ing new forms of en­ergy gen­er­a­tion was es­sen­tial.

He said re­gional ar­eas would most ben­e­fit from new job op­por­tu­ni­ties.

“There are now 35 projects that are al­ready un­der con­struc­tion, will start con­struc­tion or have been com­pleted in 2017.

“This all adds up to 4105 di­rect jobs, more than $7.4 bil­lion of in­vest­ment and 3549.4MW of new re­new­able en­ergy ca­pac­ity – the big­gest pro­gram of works in the his­tory of the in­dus­try.”

Aus­tralian Bureau of Statis­tics fig­ures show 11,150 di­rect, full-time equiv­a­lent work­ers were em­ployed in the sec­tor na­tion­ally in 2015–16, al­most half the 19,220 work­ers em­ployed at the last peak in 2011–12.

Mr Thorn­ton said re­new­able en­ergy was the cheap­est new power to gen­er­ate, which was lead­ing to more jobs be­ing cre­ated.

Most peo­ple (5570) were em­ployed in the rooftop so­lar in­dus­try, driven by the pop­u­lar­ity of home and busi­ness own­ers to gen­er­ate their own elec­tric­ity. Those al­ready with pan­els are also cre­at­ing new work by get­ting bat­ter­ies in­stalled.


POWERING ON: Work­ers in­stall so­lar pan­els.

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