April 19 (Renewables Now) - The number of jobs in Australia’s renewables sector climbed by 28% in 2017-2018, driven by the accelerated deployment of large-scale solar capacity, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) said.
The number of full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs created by the renewable energy industry has been estimated at 17,740 after the addition of 3,890 positions in 2017-2018. The biggest drivers behind the growth were falling costs, the higher interest in clean energy and the development of storage technologies. Employment in the reporting period was largely spurred by the expanded installation of photovoltaic (PV) plants larger than 100 kW, which made large-scale solar the biggest creator of renewables jobs, accounting for 16% of all jobs.
Nevertheless, with 46% of all jobs, rooftop solar kept its positions as the top renewables employer. The segment had an 8,240-strong workforce at the end of the 2017-2018 period, which saw the addition of 1,720 jobs.
According to ABS’ data, released on Wednesday, large-scale solar overtook hydroelectric power as Australia’s second largest renewable employer in 2017-2018. Figures show that it marked the largest increase in FTE employment of any renewable energy type between 2016-17 and 2017-18 and the number of Australians employed in full-time jobs grew from 930 to 2,880. FTE jobs in the hydropower sector are estimated at 2,020, while wind and biomass provide employment to 1,890 and 1,650 people.
In regional terms, all states reported a rise in FTE employment related to renewable energy activities. Queensland added 1,550 FTE jobs in 2017-2018 and thus lifted the total to 5,080 jobs. Victoria and Queensland registered an increase of 47% and 44%, respectively.