150.000 green jobs in Europe in 2050

The energy transformation could lead to a net surplus of jobs, says roadmap for Europe

Arguing that a low carbon future means more jobs is often risky business. Few studies have looked the final figures, when the reduction in “brown” jobs is counted in. Will job losses in the fossil fuel industry outnumber job gains in green tech? This was e.g. the question raised by researchers at UC Berkeley for the Belgian EU presidency last year.

Today I saw that European Climate Foundation actually did the maths in their extensive study, the Roadmap2050 roadmapping excercise that was released last year. ECF concludes that a roll out of renewable energy infrastructure and production across Europe will result in 400.000 green jobs in 2030. 250.000 jobs in fossil fuel supply chain will at the same time be lost. At net increase of 150.000 jobs over the next two decades. 

The ECF study (cleverly presented in the video above) argues that the business case for a low carbon Europe is strong. 

It predicts that energy costs per unit of economic output will come down by 20% to 30% compared to today, first and foremost because renewable energy sources will be mostly free (wind, sun) and that European industries will be able to generate 25 billion EUR annually in exports of clean technologies.  Furthermore, energy security and independence adds positively to the picture.

One thing ECF and UC Berkeley agrees on: The grid is the backbone. ECF points out that establishment of a pan-European intelligent energy network will greatly drive down costs and accelerate technology implementation. The beauty of it is, as Jules Kortenhorst, the CEO of ECF, pointed out to me at our conference in September,  that when the wind doesn’t blow in the north, the sun shines in the south – and the other way around!

Action needs, however, to start now, it says. Waiting beyond 2015 will increase the transaction costs considerably.

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