Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Energy Jobs

From the Times front page, the latest count of jobs in energy generation. This includes jobs in production (mining, drilling), construction, and running power plants. Note that the solar industry generates a lot less electricity than coal; it has more jobs partly because of all the new construction and partly because some of that construction is in the labor intensive business of putting panels on people's roofs.

1 comment:

G. Verloren said...

So what you're saying is that solar will produce huge amount of jobs as we transition to it from coal.

Coal already creates only half as many jobs as solar. Currently, 30% of our electricity is from coal, and slightly less than 1% is from solar. So let's do a rough back-of-the-envelope calculation real quick.

If we reduced coal power to only 15% of our total national energy production from the current 30%, basically cutting the current production in half, we'd lose 80,000 jobs.

If we increased solar power to 15% of our total national energy production from the current 1%, basically multiplying the current production by a factor of fifteen, we'd create 5,220,000 new jobs.

That difference is absolutely massive. Even if we assume that 80% of the new solar jobs wouldn't remain once all the new construction was done, meaning only 1 in 5 new solar jobs persisted after the transition period, we'd still create over 1,000,000 new jobs.

In fact, we could see as much as 98% of such new solar jobs disappear, and we'd still create over 100,000 new jobs, which would still beat out the 80,000 lost from the diminishing coal sector.

And we'd still get the benefit of over 5 million temporary jobs. And all the benefits of transitioning to a greener power supply that produces less pollution from burning coal directly, less industrial waste from mining and processing, et cetera.

Why the hell aren't we going about this transition faster?