A Change is Coming:  Where to Find Jobs in Renewable Energy

A Change is Coming: Where to Find Jobs in Renewable Energy


Our industry is changing, like it or not renewable energy is going to take over.  Many politicians and businesses will try and delay, prevent or deny the change, but it won’t help, it’s coming.  In 1985 the University of New South Wales’ Centre for Photovoltaic Engineering actually created 20% efficient silicon cells.  We could have taken this cue and possibly lead the world in the development of Renewable Energy technology, but the focus was on coal and the quick money that could be made from it during the boom.  When really we should have being doing both, profiting from coal and re-investing the profits into sustainable industries.  Creating jobs during the resource boom and on into the Renewable Energy boom.  Though we have missed the boat in leading the world, there may still be plenty of opportunity for Australian Blue Collar workers to secure solid jobs in Renewable Energy. 

Electric Car Jobs

Tesla Motors weren’t the first to develop an electric car, but they have definitely started the race.  With the launch of the Tesla Roadster, a 100% electric car that can do 0-60mph in 3.7 seconds (accelerating faster than the Porsche 911 and the Ferrari Spider), they got the worlds attention.  Now BMW, BYD, Chevron, Citroen, Ford, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Renault and Volkswagen all have there own models.  There is now even a electric Hummer.

This is how change happens, a renegade entrepreneurial company makes an amazing product and then the rest of the world that were resisting the change play catch up as it starts to create a mass-market.

How does this create Renewable Energy jobs for Australian Blue Collar workers?  Tesla now has a service centre in Sydney and they are employing.  We have already been sharing their opportunities at Cribhut Insights for a few months now.

Tesla now also have Supercharging Stations which allow Model S owners to travel for free between cities along well-traveled highways in North America, Europe and Asia. Superchargers provide half a charge in as little as 20 minutes and are strategically placed to allow owners to drive from station to station with minimal stops.  If you own a Tesla you can now drive from LA to New York for free.  That is nuts.  This will change the world and they are rolling them out really quickly.  Only a matter of time and they will be in Aus.

Not interested in servicing electric cars or charging stations?  Tesla have also announced they are going to build the Gigafactory, a $5billion USD factory for the sole purpose of manufacturing batteries.  500,000 of them per year employing 6,500 people by 2020.  The factory location hasn’t been announced yet but it will be in the states.  This might not mean anything for us directly yet, but it also may.  Read Mining Jobs below…

 

Solar Jobs – Solar Farms that store energy

We’ve already seen the private housing solar panel install boom, driven by the government grants.  This looks like it will now slow down with pressure from utility companies on the government, because it is eating into their profits.  My prediction is large scale solar farms will be next. We definitely have the land and climate for them and there are a few companies buzzing around with the technology.

The problem with, and argument against solar has always been it is only available when the sun is shining and not at peak demand.  The Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project has advanced energy storage, providing clean energy, day or night, utilising molten salts.  It is a 110 MW plant located near Tonopah, Nevada. Once completed, it will power up to 75,000 homes during peak electricity periods.

It may take a while, but you can guarantee that these plants will be rolled out across the world.  Australia included and with them comes fairly solid job opportunities for Blue Collar workers.

From SolarReserve

SolarReserve’s construction of the Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project will create approximately 4,300 direct, indirect and induced jobs, including more than 600 construction jobs during a 30-month period. The project will also bring additional tax revenues as well as secondary/induced economic activity to the region. During operations, the project will expend more than $10 million per year in salaries and operating costs, and is forecasted to generate $47 million in total tax revenues through the first 10 years of operation. In addition, the Crescent Dunes Project Development Agreement requires that 90 percent of the project’s construction workforce will be Nevada residents.

Development and construction 600 jobs skilled and semi-skilled labor, 90% Nevada residents
Operations phase 45 full-time, permanent jobs
Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne 120 to 130 engineering/technical positions retained
SolarReserve 35 management and engineering jobs
Indirectly induced1 4,300 indirectly induced jobs in the supply chain including manufacturing, value-added services and transport of the equipment

 

Wind Farm Jobs – The next ‘Offshore jobs’

If Tesla completes it’s mission, ‘to accelerate the advent of sustainable transport by bringing compelling mass market electric cars to market as soon as possible’ and we are all driving around in Electric cars and the demand for oil plummets, what will happen to Offshore jobs?  Wind Farms.

That’s right, offshore wind farms are huge.  With the UK and Germany leading the world, they predict that offshore wind power capacity is expected to reach a total of 75 GW worldwide by 2020.  Siemens and Vestas are leading the world as offshore wind turbine suppliers and DONG EnergyVattenfall and E.ON are the worlds leading offshore operators.  

Keep in mind this is largely focused in Europe for now, but with people like, Maurice Newman opposing Wind Farm construction near their beloved Crockwell landholdings, offshore and out of sight may be the next option.

Besides offshore there is a constant stream of new wind farms being installed in Australia.  With about 16 Major Wind Farms operational at between 63 and 420 MW and two more under construction, the Mount Mercer Wind Farm and the Gullen Range Wind Farm, there are also onshore opportunities available.  We keep an eye on these projects and share what we find via Cribhut Insights 

See below article for more info on the Mt Mercer project.

HOW TO GET A JOB ON THE MT MERCER WIND FARM PROJECT

 

Mining Jobs

What do Mining jobs have to do with Renewable Energy?  To build all of those batteries, light aluminium framed cars, wind turbines, transmission lines, solar panels and of course the electronics that run our lives and all of the green technology, they are going to need resources.

The Coal boom may be over, slowing or stagnating, but the Graphite boom is upon us.  Graphite ironical being the highest grade coal, consisting almost entirely of carbon.

With Lithium-ion batteries containing approximately twice the amount of graphite as lithium carbonate and powering the worlds smart phones, tablets and laptops, the rise of electric cars is only going to increase the demand.

As coal mines close, graphite mines are re-opening.

The Uley Graphite Project in the Lower Eyre Peninsula, South Australia has recently raised some cash on the ASX via the company Valence Industries and re-opened.  From the MEGA Graphite website – “Uley was discovered in the 1910’s and has been worked intermittently since the late 1920’s. When in operation, the plant was capable of producing up to 14,000 tonnes of graphite concentrate per year. The mine has been idle since 1993.  MEGA Graphite Inc. believes that the property contains significant potential for the discovery of additional graphite resources and the re-establishment of a successful graphite mining operation .

Though Uley is only a small project this may be a sign of the changing times, with other companies such as Lamboo Resources, Archer Exploration and Triton Minerals also chasing the ‘new coal’ we’ll keep a close eye on the opportunities within this industry and keep you in the loop via Cribhut Insights.

Another one to watch could be the Aluminium industry, if Renewable Energy eventually lowers energy prices and demand for lighter manufacturing materials again increases, this discarded industry could once again start firing.  With that comes Bauxite mines, Alumina Refineries, Aluminium Smelters and a huge demand for Energy.  We’ll be watching out for these opportunities.

 

Conclusion

There are obviously still going to be coal mines constructed and operated for quite some time, but it’s always good to be prepared for change and have options for it rather than being blindsided by it and left behind.

 

Photo Credit (Mountain/ \Ash)tai/ \Ash

Cheers!

The team at Cribhut

 

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