Employment rising in sustainable energy sector

08/10/2014 15:00

Just over 45 thousand people (in full-time equivalents) were employed in the Dutch sustainable energy sector in 2013. This is 24 percent more than in 2008. In the remainder of the economy employment fell in this period (-3 percent). The sustainable energy sector also accounted for a larger part of the Dutch economy. The gross increase was mainly the result of higher investment in renewable energy.

Share of sustainable energy sector in the Netherlands.

Share of sustainable energy sector in the Netherlands.

Employment and value added up

The transition to a more sustainable energy supply provides new opportunities for the economy. Employment in companies active in the field of renewable energy or energy conservation rose by 9 thousand full-time equivalents in the period 2008-2013, to just over 45 thousand in 2013. Earnings in this sector (gross value added) have also increased. Value added rose by 12 percent in the period 2008-2012, to 4.2 billion euros. Displacement effects (new jobs in this sector at the expense of jobs elsewhere) in other sectors are not taken into account in this respect. Although the sustainable energy sector is growing, it accounts for only a relatively small share of the economy (0.7 percent).

Labour volume in the sustainable energy sector (non-production)

Labour volume in the sustainable energy sector (non-production)

Energy conservation accounts for more than half of jobs

Energy conservation accounts for the largest share of total employment in the sustainable energy sector. The installation of insulation material in existing buildings, in particular, is a labour-intensive process. Employment in insulation activities decreased in 2012. This is consistent with the macroeconomic development in the construction sector: it picked up slightly in 2011, but slipped again in 2012.

In 2013, the sustainable energy sector accounted for the equivalent of 45 thousand full-time jobs. The production of renewable energy generated 3 thousand full-time jobs. Renewable energy accounted for 4.5 percent of total Dutch energy use in 2013, and increase from the 3.4 percent in 2008. The remaining 42 thousand jobs are in the chain around the production stage of sustainable energy, such as conservation-related activities (for example production and installation of lagging), solar energy, wind energy the bio-chains and electric transport. The installation of solar panels and electric transport equipment in particular has grown strongly in recent years. Employment in the bio-energy chain fell slightly in 2012 on the other hand: unlike previous years, no new production facilities were built in 2012.

Labour volume in the sustainable energy sector, non-production (investment-related), by sector, 2012

Labour volume in the sustainable energy sector, non-production (investment-related), by sector, 2012

Construction and manufacturing industry main players

Companies in a wide range of economic sectors are active in the sustainable energy sector. The construction industry accounts for by far the largest share (59 percent), comprising work on installation of solar panels, insulation and wind turbines. The construction industry is followed by manufacturing (19 percent) and business services (engineers and R&D). Lastly, the wholesale sector also plays an important part, for example in the international trade of solar panels and biofuels.