Energy industry encouraged to fill 400k jobs to reach net zero goal

28th January 2020 | Commercial Energy

Hundreds of thousands of people will need to be recruited into the energy sector if the UK is to reach its goal of cutting emissions to net zero by 2050, according to a new report by National Grid. The “Building the Net Zero Energy Workforce” report shows the need to fill 400,000 positions in skilled tradespeople, engineers and other specialists across the country as part of the UK’s legal targets to drive greenhouse gas emissions.

According to research by YouGov, many people across the UK would prefer to have jobs with an environmental purpose and found that 78 per cent of people thought they should play a role in the UK’s journey to net zero. Also, more than half (57 per cent) of people are interested in working for an organisation helping to deliver on the goal.

Net zero

However, the energy industry is currently facing the challenges of a looming retirement crunch, along with stiff competition with other sectors such as tech and finance. It found in this decade alone, the industry must increase low-carbon power generation by around 50 per cent, install low-carbon heating systems in 2.8 million homes, develop carbon capture, usage and storage (CCUS) technology and hydrogen networks as well as install 60,000 charging points to power 11 million electric vehicles (EVs).

Furthermore, the report found there are not enough young people choosing careers in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), and there is also a lack of women in the sector. However, chief engineer at National Grid, David Wright, said there is a “wave of momentum” about people wanting to join the energy industry, with more women wanting a “job of purpose”.

“In the UK at the moment, only 12 per cent of the engineers are female. What we found from the research actually is more women than men really want to do a job of purpose and help become part of delivering net zero moving forward,” he said.

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