4631.0 - Employment in Renewable Energy Activities, Australia, 2016-17 Quality Declaration
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 27/04/2018
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This publication presents estimates of direct full-time equivalent (FTE) employment in renewable energy activities in Australia, for the years 2009-10 to 2016-17. These estimates should be regarded as experimental as improvements continue to be made to the estimation methods and as new data sources continue to be identified.
Annual direct FTE employment in renewable energy activities in Australia was estimated at 14,820 in 2016-17. As Figure 1 shows, this is an increase of 3,680 in FTE employment (33%) from the previous year (2015-16) and represents the highest level of FTE employment in renewable energy activities since 2012-13.
Figure 1 - Annual direct FTE employment in renewable energy activities in Australia, 2009-10 to 2016-17
This increase in FTE employment in renewable energy activities has been primarily driven by an increase in construction activity for large scale solar photovoltaic (PV) systems and wind farms. Increases in FTE employment in large scale solar PV (1,240 additional FTE jobs) and wind (1,370 additional FTE jobs) accounted for over two thirds (71%) of the increase in FTE employment in renewable energy. Roof-top solar PV also saw an increase in installations, resulting in 860 additional FTE jobs in 2016-17.
Employment in renewable energy activities is influenced by policies of federal, state/territory and local governments. In order to facilitate analysis, a description is provided within the Explanatory Notes to this publication of relevant government policies in place during 2009-10 to 2016-17.
TYPES OF RENEWABLE ENERGY
Roof-top solar PV remains the largest renewable energy sector in terms of FTE employment, comprising 6,430 FTE jobs and 43% of total FTE employment related to renewable energy in 2016-17. While employment in this category has fluctuated it has remained the largest single contributor since 2009-10 (Figure 2). Its share peaked in 2011-12, when employment in roof-top solar PV made up 74% of total direct FTE employment in renewable energy activities and has declined since then.
Figure 2 - Annual direct FTE employment in Roof-top Solar activities in Australia, 2009-10 to 2016-17
Large scale wind, hydro electricity, and large scale solar PV facilities were the three largest contributors to total FTE employment related to renewable energy after roof-top solar PV in 2016-17. In 2016-17, an uptake in construction in large scale wind power facilities has driven an increase in FTE employment in wind (2,140 FTE jobs), replacing hydro (2,010 FTE jobs) as the second largest contributor. Large scale solar PV experienced the largest increase in FTE employment between 2015-16 and 2016-17, increasing from 500 FTE jobs to 1,740 FTE jobs.
Figure 3 - Proportion of annual direct FTE employment by type of renewable energy, 2011-12 to 2016-17
FTE employment in the remaining renewable energy sectors has remained relatively consistent over time.
STATES AND TERRITORIES
All states and territories have seen an increase in FTE employment related to renewable energy generation in 2016-17. New South Wales and Queensland have seen the largest increases in total FTE employment, both increasing by over 1,000 FTE jobs. This was driven by construction of wind generation facilities in New South Wales and construction of large scale solar PV facilities in Queensland.
South Australia has seen the largest proportional year on year increase in FTE employment (110%), driven by construction work on large scale wind generation facilities.
Together New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, and South Australia accounted for 78% of all renewable energy employment in Australia.
Figure 4 - Proportion of annual direct FTE employment by state and territory 2009-10 to 2016-17
PENETRATION OF ROOF-TOP SOLAR PV ACROSS AUSTRALIA
Levels of FTE employment associated with the installation of roof-top solar PV systems are influenced by a number of government policies, including taxes, subsidies, pricing policies and renewable energy targets. The Explanatory Notes to this publication provide additional detail on the key influences affecting FTE employment in roof-top solar PV over time.
This section provides a broad picture of the penetration of roof-top solar PV systems into Australia's stock of private dwellings. The Clean Energy Regulator (2017) reports that there were in excess of 1.7 million roof-top solar PV systems installed in Australia at the end of December 2017. The ABS Census of Population and Housing provides numbers of dwellings in Australia, by state and territory and by type of dwelling structure.
Across Australia, 21% of suitable private dwellings are equipped with a roof-top solar PV system at December 2016. A suitable dwelling is defined as a separate house or as semi-detached row or terrace house.
Figure 5 - Percentage of suitable dwellings with roof-top solar PV
Not all types of dwelling structures are suitable for hosting roof-top solar PV systems, for example, caravans, tents and many units and apartments. Also, even though some detached houses, terrace houses and townhouses have the structural capacity to host a roof-top solar PV system it may not be practical to do so, due to issues such as a poor solar aspect. It is not possible to exclude such dwellings as they cannot be separately identified.
The average size of an installed roof-top solar PV system in Australia is currently just under 4 kilowatt (kW) in capacity. In recent years, driven largely by falling prices for solar PV panels, the average size of systems has increased (Clean Energy Regulator, 2017).
ELECTRICITY: ENERGY PRODUCTION AND EMPLOYMENT
Total production of electricity within the Australian economy increased from 911 Petajoules (PJs) to 927 PJs (up 1.8%) between 2009-10 and 2015-16 (ABS Energy Account, Australia 2015-16 (cat. no. 4604.0)). Over the same period the production of energy from renewable energy sources has increased from 85 PJs to 145 PJs, an increase of 71%.
A similar pattern is observed in employment estimates, with the number of employed persons in working on the supply of electricity increasing from 60 thousand to 61 thousand over the same time period, an increase of 1.7% (ABS Labour Force, Australia (cat. No. 6291.0.55.003)). FTE employment in renewable energy production, however, has increased by from 11,700 in 2009-10 to 14,820 in 2015-16, an increase of 27%.
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