Employment effects of the energy transition

Far-reaching changes owing to the energy transition will impact the distribution of benefits and responsibilities.

The energy transition will bring about major technological changes. The transition will also lead to societal changes. These changes include the effects of the transition on existing companies and investments, as well as employment effects and costs for households. One of the major changes in the energy transition has to do with shifts in employment.

Estimates show that the energy transition will generate a large growth in employment in the Netherlands.

The investments needed to reach the Dutch climate targets by 2030 are likely to generate a lot of new jobs. For example, the operation and maintenance of distributed solar PV and offshore wind installations is expected to generate many new jobs. On the other hand, a transition to a fossil-free energy system will put pressure on employment in the coal, oil and gas sectors. The figure below shows the employment effects for the Netherlands related to activities that result from new investments and the closure of companies. These include indirect employment effects, for example in the supply chain. Macro-economic impacts are not included, such as any growth caused in other sectors in the same region. 

Managing new jobs in the right direction can be important for supporting the energy transition.

Job creation during the energy transition can also influence public perception. For the energy transition to be successful and to gain societal support, the economic consequences and employment opportunities from the transition must be optimally exploited. It is also important that potential bottlenecks are addressed and societal problems overcome.

Understanding the developments in the labour market will make it possible to reskill workers (in time) and to overcome problems.

The extra labour demand due to the accelerated energy transition and extra climate and energy policy requires adjustments to the education on offer. A rapid upscaling of labour supply in specific sectors such as, for example, the installation technology of heat pumps or the offshore wind industry is required. To better align labour demand and supply with each other, more coordination is needed, so that people are trained based on new knowledge and skills that are needed now and in the future. A successful energy transition will require more insights and information on the labour and skills required. Mapping future needs in the labour market will enable a better response to the bottlenecks and opportunities of the energy transition. 

One of the bottlenecks is the loss of jobs in fossil fuelbased sectors. For people to successfully transfer to new areas of work, there must be few cultural and employment hurdles. Specific loss of employment requires a good education provision and a strong regional approach that includes retraining, guidance for other work, help with dealing with the consequences of a lower paid job in another sector, and measures for situations where there is a risk of new work is minimal.