Worker at wind turbine; Source: BMWi/Holger Vonderlind

© BMWi/Holger Vonderlind

The restructuring of the energy supply is stimulating growth and employment. The macroeconomic effects of the energy transition, and particularly the impact on employment in the energy sector, can be studied from various perspectives and on the basis of various approaches. Three studies were commissioned into this issue during the last government. For example, the experts investigated how many people are employed in the energy sector, and to what extent the energy transition is creating additional jobs or, on balance, costing jobs. All the studies draw the conclusion that the energy transition is related to positive impacts on employment. In detail, however, the different questions, methods and assumptions used in the investigations mean that the quantitative findings are not mutually comparable.

  • The study entitled "Employment in the renewables sector in Germany: expansion and operation - now and in the future" focuses on an analysis of renewable energy and its impact on gross employment. It takes several upstream stages into consideration, i.e. it includes the employees of direct and indirect suppliers. The study also asks whether the energy transition will result in more net employment, i.e. whether the expansion of renewable energy creates more jobs than are lost, for example, in conventional electricity generation. It makes an assumption that the energy transition begins in 1995 (start of expansion of renewable energy on the basis of government assistance).
  • The study "Macroeconomic effects of the energy transition" considers questions like the impact of the energy transition on overall employment in Germany. Similarly to the first study, it seeks to determine the extent to which the energy transition creates higher net employment. It assumes that the energy transition begins when the Energy Concept was adopted in 2010. This means that it disregards aspects like the employment impact of the expansion of renewable energy and the increase in energy efficiency in the years before 2010.
  • The study entitled "Output and employment effects of the energy sector" takes a different approach: building on data from official statistics, it tries to determine energy-related gross employment. In addition to gross employment, it also provides employment figures for both renewable and conventional energy. In contrast to the first study, it only looks at the first upstream stage, i.e. it only covers people employed by direct suppliers, meaning that the numbers of employees tend to be lower.

You can find an overview (in German) of the various questions, methods and assumptions, and of the findings here (PDF: 158 KB).