Won’t a lot of people lose their jobs because of the Energiewende?
No, quite the opposite. The Energiewende makes economic sense as well: it reduces environmental pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, fosters innovation, increases value-added in Germany, and avoids the costs of importing energy. Most of the revenue from the development of renewable energies and energy-efficiency building improvements stays in the local area, as the labour-intensive work involved, such as installation and maintenance, is provided by firms from the region.
The development of renewable energy and investments in energy efficiency create new professions and jobs in future growth sectors. The energy-efficiency measures carried out in trade, industry and buildings alone have generated over 560,000 jobs, while investments in renewable energy more than doubled the number of employees in the sector within a period of ten years.
Some of these new positions are replacing jobs in industries where fossil fuels play a major role, particularly in oil, gas and coal extraction, as well as in electricity generation. There have also been general structural changes. For example, the liberalisation of Europe’s energy markets has increased competition. This means that companies need to be more efficient. All of these factors are also bringing about changes in the workplace. The number of employees in the conventional energy sector has declined in recent years as a result.