Training Fossil Fuel Workers to Transition to Renewables Industry

Source: Power Mag


Coal, oil, and natural gas have a long history as the world’s primary energy sources. Many communities have sprung up around mines and drilling sites, and generations of people have relied on hardworking laborers to brave the cold, darkness, or rough seas to keep the lights on at home. As the world transitions to renewable power, it is vital to train energy workers so they still have access to high-paying jobs and can keep providing for their families.

More than 65 million people work in the energy industry, with fossil fuel workers accounting for 1% of global employment. The renewables sector now employs about half of all energy workers worldwide—and that number is rapidly growing.

In 2016, there was a 32% employment increase in the wind power industry, while the number of people working in solar power grew by one quarter. With so many positions opening up, many renewable energy companies are eyeing existing energy workers as potential new hires, especially as industries like coal are hemorrhaging jobs.

Oil and gas workers often have skills that transfer naturally to renewable energy positions. For example, chemical engineers can help produce green hydrogen to power trucks. Petroleum engineers can bring their knowledge to geothermal drilling jobs, while offshore oil workers can transfer to offshore wind, hydrogen, and carbon capture and storage facilities. Fossil fuel workers also have a litany of other qualifications—physical endurance, a strong work ethic, and the ability to get along with people—that renewable energy companies are looking for.

During the transition period to a renewable economy, it is crucial that energy workers do not experience unemployment or lose their sense of pride in providing for their communities. How can fossil fuels workers seamlessly switch jobs?

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