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Enel Foundation and IEA launch The Glass House Project: a fresh look at Energy Employment opportunities in the Just Transition

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  • Apr 16, 2021

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Over 120 countries have announced their intention to bring emissions to zero around the middle of this century. The level of clean energy investment necessary to put the world on such a pathway is substantial and would require a swift ramp up above today’s levels. Global employment in clean energy sectors would also need to keep apace, representing a tremendous opportunity for the labour market and education institutions globally. This transition interests everyone: from the policymakers overseeing sustainable recoveries to bounce back stronger after the crisis, to the firms managing substantial increases in their workforce. The world must be proactive in managing these transitions such that no one is left behind.

This is why Enel Foundation and the International Energy Agency (IEA) have initiated the Glass House Project, an effort to improve global energy sector employment data and provide insights on the labour market shifts underway as our world moves towards a sustainable and resilient future for all. This joint research endeavour will advance the availability, granularity, and quality on global energy employment data. The project aims to support policymakers, companies, and citizens in understanding the near- and medium-term workforce shifts brought about by clean energy transitions, with an eye for the number and types of jobs created and the growing training needs.

The project will build upon IEA’s current global energy employment database, expanding its geographical and sectoral coverage. These findings will inform IEA work and provide energy practitioners with a detailed outlook on energy employment growth and disruption, along with details on the implications this holds for economies and businesses in transition.

In order to construct this database, the joint team will also expand current methods for collecting energy sector employment data, helping standardize processes, and develop a coalition of the willing to contribute to the cause. “IEA’s Sustainable Recovery Special Report found that emissions reductions, economic growth and rise in employment can go hand-in-hand if policies are designed in the right way. Improved tracking of energy employment is key to ensure we move towards net zero while ensuring good quality jobs. We are delighted by this collaboration and Enel Foundation’s support of this work. They bring deep understanding of sector-specific environments, issues, and trends and an extensive network of companies and academia to validate and improve tracking,” says Laura CozziChief Energy Modeller at the IEA.

To this end, the study will also gather practical case studies on how companies, educational institutions, regions and governments are successfully managing these transitions. Where possible, the qualitative insights, such as skill needs, hiring challenges, and training approaches, will be quantified to better enable other regions and firms to manage their own transitions when faced with them.

Carlo Papa – Managing Director of the Enel Foundation – highlighted: “Indeed it is a great honour to work once more with colleagues at the International Energy Agency with the aim to move from state-of-the-art empirical methods towards evidence-based research in the labour market space. Deepening the IEA’s dataset, with enhanced data collection and a focus on leveraging the insights of firms and institutions in the midst of the energy transition will be an important piece of the ‘prosperity for all’ puzzle”.

IEA and Enel Foundation imagine this project to be just a steppingstone, with the potential to catalyse a much larger coalition interested in improving the global understanding of energy employment. If you are interested in joining this process, whether by being involved data collection, providing case studies, or as a user of this data, please reach out to the team at energyjobsdata@iea.org and glasshouseproject@enelfoundation.org .

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