The next generation
Talent for the renewable energy industry
Total global investment in renewable energy broke records at $211 billion over 2010 - up 32% from $160 billion the previous year - with the top countries for investment being China, Germany, US, Italy and Brazil. With investment levels set to continue and ambitious government job and investment targets to meet, availability of local talent will be critical to UK PLC benefiting in the long-term.
Investment into renewable energy in the UK has continued, despite a difficult few years. The fiscal and regulatory environment are currently the most important factors in taking investment decisions. Infrastructure continues to be another area of great concern for industry. Transporting the energy to the point of consumption and the cost of doing so remains a critical challenge. In addition, the public seem to have mixed views of renewables. Public perception and support is crucial, so industry and government must continue to provide clear messages in order to build support and manage expectations. At the same time, government has significant aspirations for jobs creation (e.g., up to 250,000 UK jobs at the peak of the Green Deal, including 130,000 green jobs in Scotland).
However, talent is quickly emerging as a further potential development constraint. At the moment, lack of talent does not appear to be a significant limiting factor on short-term renewable development. However, given the current ambitions for renewable energy, it is the companies that attract, develop and retain skilled people at all levels and stages in the supply chain who will be the ones to benefit.
We interviewed a number of senior executives in the renewable energy industry - principally those heading up development projects - to gauge their thoughts on the current and future talent needs. We included a few international companies as a reference point.
Of the organisations we interviewed, three-quarters were heavily involved in renewables. For the remainder, renewables were a small or very small part of their business. . The key themes from these initial interviews were then explored during a small roundtable discussion which included industry representatives from energy companies, government and recruitment specialists.
The next generation (PDF)