Photo: Off Grid Electric

#PoweringJobs Launched to Build Energy Access Workforce

Global campaign to create employment-ready workforce to scale distributed renewable energy solutions in emerging economies in Asia and Africa; women and youth are key focus for millions of expected jobs

SINGAPORE, Oct. 31, 2018—Today, a global coalition announced the launch of #PoweringJobs, a multi-year campaign aimed at creating the new energy skills and jobs needed to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG7)—access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.

The #PoweringJobs coalition is made up of leading multilateral organizations, educational and training institutions, large and small companies, civil society groups, researchers and others. It currently receives support from the Schneider Electric Foundation and The Rockefeller Foundation and will be coordinated by Power for All.

Despite a growing demand for home solar kits, green mini-grids and efficient appliances for productive use across rural Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and Latin America, there is also a growing shortage of job-ready talent to finance, develop, install, operate, market and manage distributed renewable energy (DRE) solutions for households and businesses.

The human capital gap is most pronounced in remote rural areas where energy poverty and joblessness are most severe. For example, Sub-Saharan Africa has over 600 million people living without electricity and only 16,000 people employed (excluding South Africa) in the renewable energy sector—a tiny sliver, just 0.1%, of the global jobs total of 10.3 million.

“#PoweringJobs will focus on ensuring that skills and training are at the center—not the margins—of international and national development policies related to energy access,” said Kristina Skierka, CEO of Power for All. “A much higher level of donor, government and private sector commitment is needed to realize the millions of jobs that achieving SDG7 can create.”

It is estimated by IRENA that off-grid renewables for energy access can create at least 4.5 million jobs by 2030, but little hard data exists on the sector's full jobs potential and impact. Women and the fast-growing youth population will be a key campaign focus in building a diverse, inclusive, and equitable workforce for DRE-related jobs.

“We strongly believe vocational training is essential to create jobs in the energy sector and to accelerate deployment of energy access solutions, and #PoweringJobs is a key initiative to achieve those two goals,” said Gilles Vermot Desroches, General Delegate of Schneider Electric Foundation. “Schneider Electric has set a 2025 objective to train 1 million people in energy skills in countries where energy access is very low, and our ecosystem strategy—combining impact investment in start-ups, commercial deployment of technology, and support to training and entrepreneurship—will only achieve its full potential with this type of global campaign. We are proud to support #PoweringJobs.”

#PoweringJobs will conduct an annual energy access jobs survey to understand current employment, job growth trends, and to identify gaps in workforce formation. The survey will eventually provide a global picture of energy access jobs (direct, indirect and induced), and serve as an important tool to attract additional investment in skills building.

The survey will provide the first comprehensive data on energy access jobs, with findings launched in the first half of 2019, timed with a global focus next year on SDG8—Decent Work. It will pay particular attention to the important role of women and youth in delivering energy access.

Identifying workforce training initiatives that can propel energy access efforts forward will be a key priority. Up until now, with the exception of a handful of countries such as India, these issues have been treated marginally by national and international policies, as well as donors.

#PoweringJobs was launched at the International Off-Grid Renewable Energy Conference (IOREC), during a side event co-hosted by IRENA and Power for All, called “Closing the Human Capital Gap in Energy Access.”

For more information about the campaign and to see a full list of supporters, please visit powerforall.org/poweringjobs. To inquire about joining the campaign, please email poweringjobs(at)powerforall.org

About Power for All

Power for All is a multi-stakeholder coalition campaigning to rapidly scale the deployment of decentralized renewable energy in order to achieve universal electricity access before 2030. Distributed renewables—including green mini-grids and rooftop solar systems designed for households, businesses and productive use appliances—offer the fastest, most affordable and cleanest path to electricity access for all. To learn more visit powerforall.org

Media contact:
William Brent
+34 684 314 268
william(at)powerforall.org

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