A recent report from international research organisation the Global Climate Network (GCN) has indicated that some 36 400 new direct jobs and 109 100 indirect jobs could be created in the renewable energy sector in South Africa by 2020.
Further, as many as 700 000 people could be employed in the biofuels industry in South Africa, the report entitled ‘Low carbon jobs in an interconnected world' stated. These figures were derived assuming a 15% target for energy generated from renewable sources by 2020, which follows from the South African government's long-term mitigation scenarios (LTMS) document, which guides policy. The most stringent of these scenarios suggests that about 50% of South Africa's energy would need to come from renewable sources by 2050.
"Significant opportunities for employment lie in clean energy sectors and can be harnessed if the South African government scales up its renewable energy ambitions. Targeted government policies to increase local demand for priority renewable technologies – such as solar photovoltaic – and measures to encourage investment in the domestic market will be necessary to ensure job opportunities are maximised," stated the study.