Renewable Energy

The world will need more than half a million trained wind technicians by 2026

Report on wind sector work force expects 33% rise in technicians to meet Net Zero goals

By Madhumita Paul
Published: Friday 30 September 2022
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

More than half a million trained wind technicians are needed globally to construct, install, operate and maintain the rapidly growing wind fleet by 2026, according to a new report. 

South Africa has the largest wind market in sub-Saharan Africa and will need 6,600 such technicians by 2026 to meet Net Zero goals.

Global wind workforce outlook 2022-2026 was published September 26, 2022 by non-profit Global Wind Organisation (GWO) and Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC), a forum for the wind energy sector. 

Read more: India’s renewable energy race: MP, UP will take more than 50 years to meet 2022 target at current pace

The report forecast a 33 per cent rise in the number of wind technicians required globally over the next five years from 426,700 in 2021 to 568,800 in 2026. 

Over 28,000 new technicians are expected to join the global wind workforce every year. However, the report noted the urgent need for faster growth in industry-standard safety and technical training capacity to meet the forecast gaps in worker supply.

Around 28% of the construction and installation (C&I) and operations and maintenance (O&M) workforce — 119,000 technicians — hold at least one valid certificate from GWO’s basic safety training standard through 2021. The wind industry training is needed for an additional workforce of 449,800 technicians from 2022 to 2026, the report said.  

Over 85 per cent of the 449,800 trained technicians needed by 2026 will be required in nine countries — China, USA, Germany, India, Brazil, Japan, South Africa, Vietnam and South Korea.

Standard safety training will help increase not only the competence and safety of the workforce but bring increased workforce mobility. 

These nine countries were selected for regional diversity and market growth. Combined, they represent 75 per cent (417 gigawatt) of all new onshore and offshore wind capacity additions expected worldwide from 2022 to 2026.

The total number of technicians is expected to grow more rapidly offshore, increasing 92 per cent from 2021 to 2026 compared to 27 per cent onshore within the same timeframe, the analysis said. 

However, offshore wind technicians will gain share over the next five years, but 87 per cent of the technicians will still be located onshore, mostly within O&M.

This report is based upon the outputs of GWO’s workforce forecasting model built with the assistance of advisory firm Renewables Consulting Group.

The analysis will help to build confidence for investors and policymakers in the growing wind energy industry by forecasting steady and sustainable industry growth, according to GWEC and GWO. 

Read more: India’s offshore wind energy: A roadmap for getting started

It will also increase awareness of the tremendous opportunity to foster business and job creation.

South Africa has 3.2 gigawatt installed onshore wind capacity cumulatively; however, wind provides only three per cent of the country’s electricity needs. 

The country has a strong floating offshore wind potential totalling 852GW of resource within its territorial waters, according to World Bank Group. 

The South Africa Department of Mineral Resources and Energy has recently signed a project development agreement with French renewable energy developer and operator EDF Renewables for three onshore wind power generation projects.

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