South African Energy Sector Jobs to 2030

Publication - August 12, 2010
How the Energy [R]evolution will create sustainable green jobs.

The Energy [R]evolution scenario published by Greenpeace International and the European Renewable Energy Council sets out a vision for a low-carbon energy future for South Africa (RSA) and compares it to a scenario derived from the International Energy Agency (IEA) 2007 energy projection for Africa (IEA 2007) the ‘IEA Reference case’. The South African Government has also published a set of energy scenarios, including a ‘Growth Without Constraints’ (GWC) scenario1, which is commonly regarded as a reference case for the country. The GWC scenario was designed to reflect South Africa’s energy future in the absence of climate change, with no oil constraints, and if no effort was made to internalise externalities (Scenario Building Team 2007).

This report presents an analysis of the energy sector job creation associated with the three scenarios to 2030: the Energy [R]evolution, the IEA Reference case, and the Growth Without Constraints scenario. Only direct employment is calculated, including jobs in fuel production, manufacturing, construction, and operations and maintenance. Energy efficiency jobs associated with reducing the need for electricity, and jobs associated with coal exports are also calculated.

It was found that the Energy [R]evolution scenario could be a major employment creator in South Africa, with a net increase of 78,000 jobs by 2030. This is slightly more than even the Growth Without Constraints scenario, which sees energy sector employment increase by 71,000, and considerably more than the IEA Reference case which has an estimated growth of 46,000.

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