Growth in renewables brings growth in wages


“Salary Survey 2019 Australia & New Zealand” (Report), is an insight into hiring and salary trends across a range of industries based on an analysis of permanent, interim and contract placements and making predictions from that analysis. 

According to the Report, 2019 has seen the construction work commence on more than ten large-scale renewable energy projects in NSW alone, and over 50 across the nation. As such, the demand for project and construction managers, as well as installation professionals, is on the rise.  

The Report notes that the continued growth in the renewable energy sector is sure to materialise in wage growth for its workers. The sector’s growth is attracting international renewable energy firms looking to develop solar and wind farms in the Australian market and competition of that sort is sure to push up wage earnings. 

One such international firm is the French developer Neoen, Australia’s top independent renewable energy producer. Australia is Neoen’s number one market in 2019, not only is it supplying construction and management jobs in the development of five large-scale solar farms, including Victoria’s 128 MWp Numurkah solar power plant, but significantly, the world’s largest lithium-ion battery, the 100 MW/129 MWh Hornsdale battery in South Australia, often referred to as ‘Tesla’s Big Battery’. 

Moreover, the investment keeps coming. Neoen is now expanding the Hornsdale Power Reserve by 50% through the addition of 50MW/64.5 MWh of Tesla batteries. Not only does this mean more jobs in the short term, but the expansion is a good sign for more large-scale energy storage projects in Australia. Neoen has already proposed a massive hybrid power plant in South Australia featuring 1200 MW of wind, 600 MW of solar and 900 MW of battery storage. 

The Report also finds a rise in wages for in Accounting & Finance aspects of the renewable industry as demand increases and professionals are being lured away from other industries in search of a business model that reflects their ethical and environmental concerns.  

It can also be extrapolated from the Report that growth in the renewables sector is only going to accelerate due to the resurgence of other sectors, such as mining and resources due to rising commodity prices, sectors that are now turning to renewables for viability. New research by the World Gold Council (WGC) found the mining industry’s carbon footprint across the whole supply chain was serving to leak profits as much as greenhouse gases. The WGC is one of many mining associations to set out plans for transitions to renewable energy, particularly solar PV due to its ability to be used in remote locations as part of a microgrid. 

The Antipodes have shown modest salary increases in the last few years and the Report predicts that increasing pressure “is growing for a long-awaited uptick in salaries in 2019.” 

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