Clean Power wind turbine cowboy jobs

Published on June 23rd, 2015 | by Joshua S Hill


Investment In Renewable Energy Yields More Jobs Than Fossil Fuel Sector

June 23rd, 2015 by  

A new report has determined that investments in energy-efficient and renewable energy sources yield more jobs for a set amount of spending than investing in maintaining or expanding the fossil fuel industry.

wind turbine cowboy jobsThe report, Global Green Growth: Clean Energy Industrial Investment and Expanding Job Opportunities, was published earlier this week and presented at the Vienna Energy Forum 2015 by its two authors, the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).

“Significant progress has already been made in overcoming the hitherto conventional wisdom that taking steps to cut GHGs is incompatible with economic growth,” said Yvo de Boer, Director-General of GGGI. “This report moves the debate another positive step forward by showing that employment and development result from sustainable, green growth.”

“As of 2010, total world greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions amounted to about 45,000 million metric tons (mmt),” the authors of the report open. “In order to control climate change, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimates that total emissions will need to fall by about 40% as of 2030, to 27,000 mmt, and by 80% by 2050, to about 9,000 mmt. Of the 45,000 mmt of total GHG emissions, about 82% are generated by energy-based sources. This includes 33,615 in CO2 emissions from energy sources, equaling about 75% percent of total GHG emissions itself.”

The report aims to provide measures that will reduce CO2 emissions from energy-based sources by examining policy frameworks through which these targets can be reached. Focusing on the need for large-scale development of renewable energy and energy efficiency also allowed the authors of the report to assess the employment impacts of such development in five key countries — Brazil, Germany, Indonesia, South Africa, and the Republic of Korea.

“The results in the five countries presented in this report show clearly that green growth investments are not just viable or beneficial for the most highly-industrialized countries,” said LI Yong, Director General of UNIDO. “On the contrary, all countries, be they developed or developing, can derive significant benefits from investments in clean and renewable energy.”

The report was published in two volumes, split between overall findings and country-specific policy frameworks. Download the full reports: Global Green Growth Report Volume 1 and Volume 2.

Complete our 2017 CleanTechnica Reader Survey — have your opinions, preferences, and deepest wishes heard.

Check out our 93-page EV report, based on over 2,000 surveys collected from EV drivers in 49 of 50 US states, 26 European countries, and 9 Canadian provinces.

Tags: , , , , , ,

About the Author

I'm a Christian, a nerd, a geek, and I believe that we're pretty quickly directing planet-Earth into hell in a handbasket! I also write for Fantasy Book Review (, and can be found writing articles for a variety of other sites. Check me out at for more.

  • Jacob

    We need figures on how many people are employed to clean solar panels.

    In dusty parts of the world, there would be quite a lot!

    Not to mention that inverters and batteries need to be swapped out after 10-20 years. So more employment.

    • GCO

      What? The only expense I foresee for my system over the next ~30 years may be one inverter replacement/repair. Most likely not though, as this model is offered with a 25-year warranty.
      PV modules have remained clean enough even though we routinely go 6+ months without rain.
      No battery either, like the vast majority of grid-tied systems.

      Jobs are in the manufacturing and installation of those systems — that I spent good money on.

      • Jacob

        I said dusty parts of the world.

        Search “solar panel cleaning” on Google Images.

        I am thinking South Asia, Middle East, etc.

      • Matt

        Panel cleaning is normally only something done by PV farms in dusty areas. If you home is located where you get dust storm, then you might also need to clean them. But in general most home PV (in US /EU) don’t do this. Maybe in the outback it gets dusty, I don’t know. Of course if you are on the coast and you get a lot of rats with wings (sea gulls) droppings on you panels, you mileage may vary. I know this is part of the sales pitch for solar lease, but …

        • Jacob

          Compare the maintenance employment of solar PV + inverter + batteries vs the maintenance employment of coal power stations.

          Obviously solar is employing a lot of people right now due to installations.

          But once installed, how many people will be employed by the solar panel industry?

          • Bob_Wallace

            What does it matter? It will take 30 years or more to build out solar and wind. That’s a career for many people.

            Thirty years from now we can look for the next source of jobs. Or possibly by then we will have dis-invented work.

            BTW, there are robots cleaning panels right now.

          • Coley

            Or to replace out of date tech as is happening with double glazing,most electronics etc.and let’s be honest how many do the FF industry employ? When I was a miner here in the UK there were hundreds of thousands employed in deep mines to be replaced by a few thousand in the opencast sector and most of them are now facing redundancy.
            A valid point,which I fear I may bore some on here by constant repetition, is that RE should provide jobs in the areas it affects, do that, then the entrenched hostility will disappear overnight!

          • Bob_Wallace

            Same thing happened in the US. Our eastern coal mines went from sending miners under the mountains to bring out coal to just blowing the tops off mountains and using a few workers with very large machines to scoop it up.
            Out west the mines have always been, as far as I know, open pit. Low labor, big machines.

          • Coley

            Aye, but even those operations have become uneconomical here in the UK due to your lot dumping cheap imports on us;)
            How long before your lot go the same way due to even cheaper imports from say, Australia,?

          • Bob_Wallace

            Our western coal is very cheap. I doubt that Australian coal could be competitive unless they shipped it for free and gave us a significant discount below their cost of getting it on the boat.

            Our eastern mines are closing down. The brilliant owner of one of the large Appalachian mines has been buying up other bankrupt mines, I suppose expecting coal to have a second act.

            I’m glad to see those owners losing their shirts. They’ve avoiding running safe mines since the getgo and have killed a lot of miners.

          • Jacob

            We do not have batteries that last 30 years.

            The coal lobby talks about how many people are employed to dig up and ship coal.

            Despite the robots, skyscraper windows are cleaned by human muscles.

          • Bob_Wallace

            “We do not have batteries that last 30 years.”

            EOS Energy Systems Aurora 1000/4000

            10,000 cycles, 27.4 years if cycled daily. 30 year calendar life.


            Flow batteries will probably last longer. And Ambri liquid metal batteries should last much longer.

            “Can the clean energy people not say how many are employed to maintain and replace solar panels + inverters + batteries.”

            Yes, there are articles on this site.

            Despite the robots, skyscraper windows are cleaned by human muscles.


            I remember watching a video recently about a new skyscraper being built facing Central Park that has built in window washing ‘robots’.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Oops, forgot the Toshiba SCiB. 10,000+ cycles.


          • GCO

            As the overwhelming majority of solar capacity does not rely on any batteries, I fail to see how their lifetime is even relevant.

          • Jacob

            Because there is no such thing as a Powerwall with a 10 year warranty.

            I must have an incredibly rare ability to see beyond the current situation.

          • Calamity_Jean

            “It will take 30 years or more to build out solar and wind. “

            Oh, I hope not. I want to see it done in 20.

          • globi

            The last phase of capitalism will be the automation of the entrepreneur:

            (“Dear employees, I don’t need the money you generate. We don’t need it either.” l)

  • Richard Foster

    This never figures into any discussion about energy. Because as we know politicians are bought by the FF lobby (cf Koch brothers, etc). This trumps arguments about jobs.

    • Will E

      you are so right.
      When politics decide to make Solar illegal, and they can, all Solar installed must be dismantled and new Solar will be banned.
      its just a change of laws.

      • Keanwood

        Will, do you actually believe what you say? Sure politicians (or utilities) could slow down solar but make is illegal and dismantling all of it? That’s just crazy.

      • Matt

        Will, your mood swings are intense! For so long your post were over the top positive on RE, now it is all doom and gloom. Deep breath, step away from the terminal.

        • Martin

          He has been reading about what has happened in Spain (about solar). And I guess England is heading that way as well (for wind).
          But the Pope is on the right track and so are many others and hopefully soon the ones not on the right track will go the way of the Dodo. 😉

          • Coley

            Eaten by sailors? That’s a bit harsh, even for the worst of the denier lobby;)

          • Martin

            I thought the dodo went naturally extinct, but I stand to be corrected.
            Guess I need to read up on that, thank you.

          • Coley

            Apparently they were on a re-watering site for the various navies in the days of sail and had the bad luck to be very tasty;) the same fate nearly happened to the giant tortoise, nearly every live specimen sent home to England ended up eaten;)
            @ DA, BBC

          • Bob_Wallace

            On those remote islands animals typically had no fear of humans. Easy to capture/kill.

            Sailing vessels used to pile several giant tortoises upside down on their decks as a fresh meat supply.

      • nakedChimp

        Here, that will cheer you up – runs opposite your argumentation strategy even 😉

        • Coley

          That link should have its own feature on here, great news, now if Australia’s. Legal eagles can go down the same road…………..;)

Back to Top ↑