This industry might be the future for mine workers
A LEADING green recruiter believes workers in traditional energy jobs are well placed to make the jump to the booming renewables sector.
But he has warned the workers who do make the switch may have to take a pay cut.
The comments come as a new report found the renewable industry employs more people in Queensland than in any other state.
There are 56 renewable energy projects proposed across regional Queensland - 46 of which are solar plants. The Queensland Government states the renewable industry could support about 15,000 construction jobs in this state by 2030 - tripling today's numbers.
Specialist renewable recruiter Kevin Warner from recruitment firm Davidson said the boom in planned renewable projects offered opportunities for energy workers - but paydays like the mining boom were no longer available.
"We just need to be having conversations now around where we will find the staff. There is certainly scope to bring in staff from other sectors, notably the mining and the oil and gas sectors, where their skills can be transferred and adapted easily," he said.
"However, staff moving from these sectors into the renewable energy sector need to be aware that they might not attract the salary levels they were receiving in the oil and gas and mining sectors.
"This is going to be the challenge, but I think those workforces are starting to realise they were getting overpaid and should they wish to change industry, they need to, in some respects, re-evaluate their expectations.
Queensland Resources Council chief Ian Macfarlane said although renewables would help the construction industry they would not employ a large operations staff.
"The QRC supports more renewable energy into the electricity grid but there is a clear distinction between short-term solar farm jobs and ongoing careers at power stations, gas fields, refineries or a mine," he said.
"Once a solar farm is built, it only employs a few maintenance staff. Renewable projects are good for construction jobs but they are not sustained jobs whereas a resource project needs a large workforce for 20-40 years."
Mr Warner's comments come as a report from Green Energy Markets found the renewable sector supported 15,691 full time equivalent jobs in December last year - including 5870 in Queensland, more than any other state.
The report found across Australia wind farms will soon produce about five times as much power as the Snowy Hydro Electric Scheme.
"The wind farms under construction at present will produce twice as much power per annum as the Snowy Hydro scheme. When combined with wind farms already in operation, wind will supply five times more electricity per annum than that of the Snowy scheme," the report said.
According to the Department of Natural Resources and Mines, just five new wind farms are proposed in Queensland, compared to the 46 proposed solar plants. -NewsRegional
THE SUNSHINE STATE
Queensland installed more rooftop solar systems in December last year than any other state, according to Green Energy Market's Renewable Energy Index. The report found 4378 rooftop systems were installed in Queensland, just in front of the combined NSW and ACT total of 4365, and well in front of 2763 in Western Australia and Victoria's 2624. According to the report the panels installed in Queensland will save the households $55 million in bills over the next 10 years.