A worldwide coalition of 200 private and public organizations, Power for All today launched Powering Jobs, a campaign aimed at providing the training and education solar energy entrepreneurs and workers need in order to succeed, at the IOREC off-grid, renewable energy conference in Singapore.
Power for All’s guiding and informing mission is to provide sustainable energy access to the 2 billion people — almost a third of humanity — that lack access to reliable energy. It’s one of the prime movers in the drive to realize UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7 – achieving universal energy access by 2030, and capitalizing the declining costs and improving performance of decentralized solar and other form of renewable energy in doing so.
Powering Jobs focuses on addressing “the huge shortage of entrepreneurs and job-ready workers needed to meet the growing demand for home solar systems, mini-grids and other distributed renewable energy (DRE) solutions in Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.” That shortfall jeopardizes realization of UN SDG 7, Power for All highlights.
Power for All and Powering Jobs campaign partners intend “to move energy access skills from the sideline to center stage,” Power for All’s William Brent told Solar Magazine. Campaign partners see the possibility of training as many as 4.5 million people to enter the solar energy industry worldwide by 2030.
“Right now we’re seeing a growing skills gap, which puts SDG 7 at risk,” Brent said.
Powering Jobs has two main components:
- Producing the first comprehensive survey of the energy access workforce, including solar home systems, mini-grids and productive use appliances. The initial focus is on India, Nigeria and Kenya – three countries in which distributed solar energy-energy storage and mini-grid start-ups have taken root and have been expanding rapidly.
- “It’s estimated that distributed renewables can create 4.5 million jobs by 2030. Right now Sub-Saharan Africa (excluding South Africa) has 16,000 jobs. If we assume that most of the potential jobs are needed in Sub-Saharan Africa (where 60% of the world’s electrified live, mostly in rural areas), the skills gap to fill those jobs is enormous,” Brent highlighted.
- The resulting research results will inform a comprehensive report to be published in Q1 2019 that is to include a strong point-of-view and specific calls to action.
Powering Jobs will produce a range of knowledge products to help raise awareness and educate in addition to the survey report, according to Brent. “We’ll engage in active communications (through media and 1:1’s with decision-makers and original content) and we’ll conduct national round-tables to ensure the topic is front and center of policy discussions,” he said.
2019: A key year for powering solar jobs
Publication of the Powering Jobs report is to kick-off national campaigns to raise funding and institutional support.
2019 is a key year for the campaign, since there will be a high-level political focus on SDG 8 (Decent Work) and we want to make sure that energy access jobs are an important topic of focus for global decision-makers.
“Our experience training 190,000 technicians and supporting hundreds of local training partners has convinced us that we must develop public-private collaboration to fully leverage human capital in local markets,” said Thomas Andre, strategy leader for energy access at Schneider Electric. “Recently, we partnered with the government of Indonesia, as part of their Making Indonesia 4.0 agenda, to train 240 teachers and heads of laboratories from professional schools, to prepare their expected 10,800 vocational students for work in the next five years all across the country. This model needs to spread globally if we want to achieve sustainable energy for all by 2030.” comment
* Cover image credit: flickr @oncor