The transition from fossil forms of energy to new types such as wind, solar or geothermal requires huge investment, not only in technology but especially in people,’ the government’s highest advisory board SER has told parliament.
The government plans to phase out coal-fired power plants as part of its strategy to meet the terms of the Paris climate agreement and 2,700 jobs at five plants are at stake.
The pending closure of the Dutch onshore and offshore gas fields will swell the ranks of workers in the fossil-fuel fired energy plants who need retraining for jobs in the sustainable sector.
In total, SER says, tens of thousands of jobs are affected. Workers at power plants are well paid and highly specialised, making a move to new jobs in or out of the energy sector difficult.
Some of the coal- and gas-fired power plants can be switched over to other forms of electricty generation such as biomass or wood chips. The government’s CO2 reduction goals, however, rely heavily on sustainable energy production.
‘The energy transition offers opportunities for employment, innovation and a more sustainable climate. But bottlenecks in the larbour market need to be adressed urgently. And this requires cooperation on all levels,’said SER chairman Mariëtte Hamer.
However, skills, training schemes and pay-and-conditions agreements differ widely and some workers even face loss of pensions, experts in the field told the Financieele Dagblad in reaction to the SER report on Friday.
The technical installation sector expects some 20,000 job vacancies by 2020, according to its employers organisation Uneto-Vni. It has opened an energy transition desk and claims workers can move easily into new, green jobs in the sector.
Uneto-Vni has 5,000 members with combined annual turnover of €13bn and a workforce numbering 120,000.
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