| BERLIN, June 6
BERLIN, June 6 Germany's expanding renewable
power industry will account for over half a million jobs by
2030, an increase of more than a third from current levels,
driven by strong solar and wind sectors, a study presented on
The GWS think tank said it expected the number of jobs
linked to the renewables industry to rise to as much as 600,000
in 2030. Currently around 382,000 jobs are linked to the
industry, equivalent to about 1 percent of the workforce in
Europe's biggest economy,
The study included employees involved in making and
maintaining renewable energy equipment as well as workers
indirectly serving the sector such as scientists, suppliers and
Chancellor Angela Merkel is banking on a major expansion in
renewables to make up for possible power shortfalls from an
accelerated exit from the nuclear industry - a move she abruptly
announced a year ago after Japan's Fukushima disaster.
Germany aims to derive 35 percent of its power from
renewable sources in 2020 and 80 percent in 2050 from 20 percent
now although critics say those targets looks a long way off.
German industry, which prides itself on adapting to new
global trends, has shifted some of its traditional heavy
engineering to green technology in the last decade. This has
helped to shield its economy and job market from the worst of
the financial and debt crises.
The solar sector, boosted in the last decade by generous
incentives which turned Germany into the world's largest market
for solar panels, accounts for around a third of jobs in the
Some experts are pessimistic about the solar sector due to
cuts in incentives and increased competition from abroad -
several firms in the branch have gone bankrupt in the last year.
But the GWS study said the industry should hold its own.
Bioenergy also accounts for about a third of jobs in the
renewables branch with wind energy contributing over a quarter
Offshore wind is one of the biggest areas earmarked for
expansion in Germany although plans to build 10,000 MW of
offshore wind parks by 2020 look in doubt due to an inadequate
power grid plus regulatory and financing questions.
Ulrike Lehr, co-author of the study, said much depended on
"It depends on international markets. The development of the
wind sector, for example, will be affected a good deal by export
demand but we expect the distribution between sectors to remain
roughly the same," Lehr told reporters.
While the southern state of Bavaria and western state of
North Rhine-Westphalia contribute the largest number of workers
in the renewables sector, less dynamic economies in former
Communist eastern states are more reliant on the industry.
Growth in several of those states has been boosted in the
last few years by solar energy and some are pinning their hopes
on offshore wind.
(Reporting by Madeline Chambers; Editing by Mark Potter)