India’s New Clean Energy Goals Promise Up to One Million New Jobs

NEW DELHI (February 14, 2015) – New analysis released during the RE-Invest conference in New Delhi, India shows that achieving Prime Minister Modi’s recently announced 100 gigawatt (GW) solar energy goal by 2022 could create as many as one million jobs, while greatly improving energy access for Indian citizens and fighting climate change. Achieving India’s proposed target of 60 GW of wind energy by 2022 would also generate at least an additional 180,000 jobs.

“These jobs projections give us even more drive to make our solar target, the most aggressive one in the world, a reality,” said Tarun Kapoor, Joint Secretary Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE).  “Now we know what type of skill creation we need to invest in and can take the necessary steps to make that happen.”

The analysis, Clean Energy Powers Local Job Growth in India, by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW), finds that the project planning, construction, and installation and operations required to meet this solar goal could generate as many as 1,000,000 jobs in less than a decade. This projection does not include jobs created in the manufacturing sector, another significant jobs opportunity.

“Prime Minister Modi’s clean energy plan creates enormous potential for India’s booming population. It provides job opportunities and access to electricity that will power rapidly growing cities and villages” said Anjali Jaiswal, Director of NRDC’s India Initiative. “India is aiming to produce more solar energy than any other country in the world, which is an ambitious goal and shows how serious the government is about creating a clean energy economy. Our research has found unequivocally that renewable energy can drive economic development in all corners of the country."

In January, Prime Minister Modi and President Obama solidified their shared commitment to fighting climate change and accelerating clean energy during the U.S.-India summit, creating joint programs to scale up renewable energy and create jobs through innovative transnational investment strategies. That commitment came on the heels of the Modi government’s announcement in November 2014 to quintuple the National Solar Mission goal for scaling up solar energy, increasing the target from 20 GW to 100 GW of grid-connected solar energy by 2022.

As India faces threats to energy security and the impacts of climate change, renewable energy offers a critical solution. India’s solar and wind programs have already catalyzed remarkable growth. In just four years, India’s solar market has grown more than a hundredfold, exceeding 3 GW of installed solar energy. With 250 GW of total installed energy currently and a need for much more power, scaling up solar and wind energy projects is a win-win strategy.

Dr. Arunabha Ghosh, CEO of CEEW, said, “Clean and renewable energy is going to be a growing share of India's energy mix in the coming years and decades. In addition to contributing to energy access and mitigating greenhouse gas emissions, there is a clear third benefit: jobs. CEEW and NRDC's analysis shows that there is huge opportunity to create jobs across the renewable energy value chain. We must collectively work toward realizing this potential.”

The analysis also documents a growing need for more accurate tracking of job creation data. The analysis shows that because companies in India do not often report the number of jobs created by their projects, scant data exists on the economic impact of clean energy development on employment. Simple data reporting on the number of jobs created for new solar and wind projects can inform decision-making by policymakers and financiers to choose solar project types with the highest economic opportunity for Indian workers, among other considerations.

As the country expands its use of renewable energy, solar is just one piece of the puzzle. Wind programs are also catalyzing incredible growth, making India the world’s fifth largest wind energy producer, with 22 GW of installed wind energy and a newly announced National Wind Mission targeting 60 GW of wind by 2022. So far, despite limited data, grid-connected solar and wind energy combined are estimated to have created nearly 70,000 full-time jobs in India. The expansion of wind programs to reach the 2022 goals has the potential to create an additional 183,500 full-time jobs.

Read more about NRDC and CEEW’s clean energy job creation analysis and recommendations here:


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