Power for All Distributed Renewable Energy Job Report Sees Strong Post-Pandemic Growth – The Rockefeller Foundation

Decentralized renewables employment data shows its potential in helping achieve both United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 7 and 8.
NEW YORK | September 19, 2022 – Power for All, the global campaign to end energy poverty, today released its second Decentralized Renewable Energy (DRE) jobs report; supported by GET. Invest, Good Energies Foundation, and The Rockefeller Foundation. The industry’s most comprehensive emerging markets employment census shows increased demand for DRE solutions is creating hundreds of thousands of formal and informal jobs. The sector is becoming a major employment engine, especially in remote rural areas in emerging and developing economies where poverty and unemployment levels are high. In addition it is helping achieve universal electricity access while supporting the world’s transition to clean energy.
In order to realize the full social and economic benefits of DRE, the report calls for concerted efforts from all stakeholders in the public, private, and non-profit sectors to ensure the necessary human capital is in place.
“With DRE recovering from the impact of the pandemic faster than the broader economy its promise is clear, however significant challenges remain,” said Kristina Skierka CEO, Power for All. “Energy regulations need to be overhauled to accommodate renewables and other energy innovations, foreign investment encouraged, and structural issues like access to foreign capital and licensing restrictions resolved in order to grow DRE jobs and realize the sector’s full potential.”
According to the report, the DRE sector is a significant contributor to job creation in energy poor countries with the potential to create direct employment for up to half a million people in Africa by 2030. The sector showed great resilience in the face of Covid-19 with jobs returning in 2021 and now surpassing pre-pandemic levels in most of the study countries.
DRE–which includes pico-solar, appliances, solar home systems (SHS), commercial and industrial (C&I) standalone systems, and mini-grids–has an important role to play in accelerating United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 7 (universal access to clean reliable and affordable energy) especially in remote rural communities, and efforts towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The sector has also been a source of ‘productive’ and ‘decent’ employment, especially in emerging economies where employment is a major focus of United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 8 (inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all). The rapid recovery of jobs following the pandemic proves the sector’s resilience, indicating those jobs are likely immune to the worst recessionary pressures.
“Access to energy transforms every facet of life and over the past decade, DRE technologies have been rapidly replacing fossil fuels as the most cost-effective building blocks for powering economic development,” says Suman Sureshbabu, Managing Director, Demand, Jobs and Livelihoods at the Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet (GEAPP). “The Powering Jobs Reports demonstrates the green job creation potential of the vibrant DRE sector, especially for entrepreneurship and small enterprise development.”
Power for All’s “Powering Jobs Census 2022: The Energy Access Workforce” report provides a comprehensive overview of employment in the DRE sector, including skill levels, training opportunities, compensation, participation of women and youth, and job retention. It is based on a survey of more than 350 companies and focus groups across five countries: Ethiopia, India, Kenya, Nigeria, and Uganda. The survey collected employment and sales data from 2019 to 2021 as well as projections for 2022 – 2023.
Highlights of the report include:
Mixed bag of blessings in job growth: From 2019 – 2021 the DRE sector created  more than 80,000 direct workers in India and 144,000 across Kenya, Nigeria and Uganda and Ethiopia.
Quick recovery of pandemic-related job losses: The pandemic, and other factors such as supply chain disruptions, conflict and foreign exchange (forex) shortages, contributed to the decline in direct employment in 2021.
Persistent low participation of women: Women’s direct employment in the DRE sector recorded a slight improvement from the previous study, but still has a way to go to reach parity.  The share of female participation in the sector closely mirrors the labor force of each country; highlighting the untapped  ability of the DRE sector to help address female economic participation.
Closing the skills gaps: As the sector matures it will require an increasingly skilled workforce, training and reskilling will be critical in meeting this demand.
The growth and resilience exhibited by DRE in this report strengthens the case for increased support from government and development partners, to not only achieve the elusive universal energy access, but to tap into its job creation potential to accelerate rural development and poverty reduction efforts. As the world continues its transition from fossil fuels into renewable energy an increasingly skilled workforce will be critical.
In addition to this global report, individual country reports will be published to provide unique insights into the DRE job and skill trends in each focus country. Visit Power for All to learn more.
About Power for All
Power for All is a global coalition campaigning to accelerate the end of energy poverty by scaling distributed renewable energy solutions. The campaign represents more than 300 business, finance, and civil society organizations focused on decentralized renewables, including household and business solar, mini-grids and productive use appliances.
Powering Jobs Census 2022: The Energy Access Workforce was made possible by GET.invest*, Good Energies Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation, Power for All, and its #PoweringJobs partners (AMDA, AFSIA, Ashden, CEEW, CLASP, CLEAN, Clean Technology Hub Nigeria, Ethio Resource Group, GOGLA, KEREA, Shortlist, UNREEEA).
Press Release July 15, 2019. Powering Jobs Census 2019: the Energy Access Workforce.
*GET.invest is a European programme that mobilises investments in renewable energy, supported by the European Union, Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands and Austria.
About The Rockefeller Foundation
The Rockefeller Foundation is a pioneering philanthropy built on collaborative partnerships at the frontiers of science, technology, and innovation that enable individuals, families, and communities to flourish. We work throughout the world to promote the well-being of humanity and make opportunity universal and sustainable. Our focus is on scaling renewable energy for all, stimulating economic mobility, and ensuring equitable access to healthy and nutritious food. For more information, sign up for our newsletter at rockefellerfoundation.org and follow us on Twitter @RockefellerFdn.
Media Contact
Ashley Chang
Head of Media Relations at the Rockefeller Foundation
+1 212 852 0000
achang@rockfound.org
[1] Kenya Power and Lighting, About Kenya Power, Our Employees
 

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