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PoweringJobs Census 2022: The Energy Access Workforce Report Stirs Industry Debate

Power for All recently launched the ‘Powering Jobs Census 2022: The Energy Access Workforce’ report which compiles employment data from a comprehensive survey conducted across five countries and provides evidence of the potential of decentralized renewables to help achieve both United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 7 and 8.

The report was well received and stirred debate on how best to encourage growth and inclusion in the distributed renewable energy sector. Panel speakers during the global launch of the report  that took place on September 19, 2022, at an online Climate Week NYC event, had this to say about the report and its findings:

“Aside from the fact that there is so much potential for job growth which is such a positive finding of the report, I think there's a lot of potential for all of us who work in this sector to be more intentional and direct in our support of women in an emerging sector.  Because if we don't do anything, the trends are pretty clear of what's going to happen. Women will stay in administrative jobs or lower-paying jobs.” Suman Sureshbabu, Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet of The Rockefeller Foundation.

“One of the things that we're really excited about is that the report highlights the vast impact our sector has already had when it comes to employment…  When we look ahead it's clear how much more of an impact we're going to have on livelihoods as we reach SDG7. This is something that has been left out of a lot of conversations related to energy access.” Radhika Thakkar, Sun King/Greenlight Planet.

“If you look at governments around the world, especially in developing countries, job creation is a key priority and this cannot be disconnected from energy transition whether it's for DRE or large-scale renewables. Investing in renewables stimulates economic activity and creates jobs alongside a number of other benefits that come in terms of energy security and climate.”  Divyam Nagpal, International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

“The Federation of Kenya Employers has continuously talked about how much investors or employers are spending in terms of reskilling workers. So, details in terms of where the gaps are and discussion on what we should focus on to strengthen the sector are important. The report clearly articulates that DRE is one area that will create a lot of jobs and therefore warrants a lot of focus.” Isaac Kiema, International Labor Organization.

“We need better connections between educators and local companies needs. DRE companies should be a priority and processes streamlined so it's easier for them to get the skilled workers that they need. We need to make sure that the curricula are inclusive of the applications being used in DRE such as solar water pumps, cold storage for vaccines and a variety of farm-based applications. We also need to upgrade the development of our educators so that they can teach this.” Debra Rowe, U.S. Partnership for Education for Sustainable Development. 

“An area that requires attention is the gap in training that is needed as we expand into businesses and as the businesses expand into newer markets, especially for rural communities. It is also very important that the regulatory gaps are addressed. For example there are markets where we're looking at installing floating solar and we are faced with regulatory issues and environmental impact assessment modeling and things like that,” Joshua Wycliffe, International Solar Alliance (ISA).

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