More jobs in renewable energy and energy efficiency

In 2017, altogether 54 thousand full-time jobs in the Netherlands were associated with renewable energy and energy efficiency. This number was up from 35 thousand in 2008. Employment in these activities has increased continuously since 2008, with only a small dip in 2011. Employment in conventional energy grew steadily from 2008 to 2014 and subsequently dropped to the level of 2008. In full-time equivalents, 64 thousand jobs were associated with conventional energy in 2017. This is evident from research results published today by Statistics Netherlands (CBS).

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Aside from employment in conventional energy and renewable energy as well as energy efficiency, there is also employment related to the construction and maintenance of networks. This cannot be classified under the three other categories. In total, energy-related activities created 150 thousand full-time jobs in 2017. All jobs in this calculation have been converted to full-time equivalents.

Employment in energy production (x 1,000 FTE)
 Conventional energyRenewable energy and energy efficiencyNetworks
200865.935.418.2
200966.436.419.5
201071.938.318.4
201169.243.327.9
201274.141.726.4
201376.544.326.3
201480.345.427.5
201574.148.427.4
20166550.631.4
201763.654.131.2

Employment in energy-related activities concerns both the exploitation of energy and labour needed to realise investments. The latter involves the building and installation of wind turbines, for example. The small dip in employment related to conventional energy that occurred after 2014 was partly due to lower investments. These had been scaled up due to the construction of three coal plants. Investments in conventional energy fell after completion of the coal plants. The decision to reduce natural gas extraction activities probably contributed to the decline as well.

More jobs created by solar installations

The vast majority of jobs in renewable energy and energy efficiency are created as a result of investments. Realisation of these investments provided 51 thousand full-time jobs in 2017. Since 2015, employment associated with investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency has exceeded employment related to conventional energy. Renewable energy investments have shifted from biomass to other forms of energy.

In 2008, biomass including biogas and other forms of energy together with wind energy still accounted for most of the employment due to renewable energy investments. For example, substantial investments were still made in biofuel plants during that period. This has not been the case in recent years, leading to a decline in employment which had been created.

Employment from investments in renewable energy and electric transport
 2016*2008
Electric transport3.70.4
Heat, geothermal energy and hydropower1.91.7
Solar energy72.3
Biomass, biogas, biofuels, biorefining and other2.53
Wind energy4.23

Whilst investments in biomass were falling, those in other forms of renewable energy were rising. Employment as a result of solar energy investments saw the largest increase, namely from over 2.3 thousand full-time jobs in 2008 to nearly 7 thousand in 2016. These mainly concern jobs in the installation sector. Investments in wind energy also boosted employment during this period, to 4.2 thousand full-time jobs, largely due to the development of off-shore wind turbines. Furthermore, investments in electric transport have caused a substantial increase in recent years as well.

Conventional energy production leading in terms of exploitation

Employment related to energy exploitation is still predominantly seen in conventional energy. In 2017, it provided 32 thousand out of the 35 thousand full-time jobs in energy exploitation. It must be said that employment as a result of conventional energy exploitation has been declining for some years, while employment generated by renewable energy exploitation is growing.

Employment in renewable energy exploitation (FTE)
 Biomass and biofuels (excl. biogas)BiogasWind energySolar energyHeat, geothermal energy and hydropower
2008731.3627435.319.39.7
2009907.9687.2434.221.49.7
2010977.1726.6421.626.49.7
20111112.7771.642141.49.7
20121236.1756.8426.5979.7
20131147.3778.4458.7185.89.7
20141044.3791.9467.1247.29.7
20151029.7800.9533.4338.49.7
20161182727.7647.5433.49.7
2017*1153.1721.7616.9573.69.7

Since 2008, the number of full-time jobs in the exploitation phase of renewable energy has increased from 1,800 to 3,100. The sharpest increase was seen in the exploitation of solar energy: although hardly any employment was created in 2008, it provided almost 600 full-time jobs in 2017. Employment arising from the exploitation of wind energy, biomass and biogas has also risen. In terms of biomass, the increase is partly related to more and more combustion in waste treatment plants during the period 2008-2012.