30 Sept 2021


The renewable energy revolution could turn out to be a revolution for your career.

If you’ve been thinking about job security at the moment, you’re not alone. Millions of people are concerned about their jobs and careers. With the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s only natural that you might be giving your career a serious rethink. Industries that were once as reliable as clockwork are now facing uncertainty. But, as the world transitions to a renewable energy future, there are some exciting new industries to keep an eye on. And they’ll need the talent of hundreds of thousands of Australians into the future. 

According to the Sunshot: Australia’s $89B Clean Energy Export Opportunity report, renewable energy exports could create up to 395,000 new jobs across Australia by 2040. And that’s just a conservative estimate. It’s estimated that Australia’s emerging renewable energy export sector has the potential to generate $89 billion of gross value added (GVA). In simple terms, this is the measure of the value of an industry. And to give some context, $89 billion GVA is larger than the GVA of Australia’s entire fossil fuel export industry today.

Commissioned by the Australian Council of Trade Unions, Business Council of Australia, WWF-Australia and the Australian Conservation Foundation, this latest report is good news for regional jobs in the future. There could be a range of opportunities for people from all walks of life – including those with different education and training experience and levels of qualifications. In particular, there could be significant growth in employment in regional Western Australia, Central and outback Queensland, outback South Australia and the Illawarra region in New South Wales. 

Here are the six surprising industries of the future to keep an eye on.

Six types of renewable exports - Infographic
© WWF-Australia

Green metals

According to the report, 111,000 jobs could be created by 2040 in the green metals industry. Through processing and exporting higher-value metals like aluminium and steel produced with renewable energy, this industry could contribute $20.1 billion annually to the Australian economy. The key regions that could benefit from jobs include Illawarra, Western Australia outback, South Australia and Central Queensland. 

Critical minerals mining and refining

By 2040, 110,000 direct and indirect jobs could be created in the export and refining of minerals that are required for the production of renewable energy technologies. A large number of the new jobs could be located in regional communities that currently employ a high percentage of coal mining and liquid natural gas workers. This means new employment pathways for fossil fuel workers in their hometowns and could contribute $24.1 billion annually to the nation’s economy.

Renewable hydrogen and ammonia

Considered the fuel of the future, the renewable hydrogen industry could create 33,000 direct and indirect jobs by 2040, along with injecting $22.3 billion into the economy each year. The key areas for jobs growth include the north and south Western Australia outback, Central Queensland, Perth, and the Mackay Isaac Whitsunday regions. 

Battery manufacturing

Australia is well-positioned to become one of the world’s leading renewable energy battery manufacturers. This could create 45,000 direct and indirect jobs and contribute $6.9 billion to the economy each year. There could be a significant number of jobs created in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.

Education and training

In Australian universities and VET institutions, 66,000 direct and indirect jobs could be created by 2040 in renewable energy and environment-related fields of study. And it’s estimated this could inject $10.5 billion annually into the economy. There is huge potential to train and educate international students as the global demand for skills in renewables and renewable powered industry grows. 

Engineering, ICT & consulting services

Australia’s engineering, information and communications technology (ICT) and consulting services will play a crucial role in the transition to a renewable energy export future. The report estimates that 30,000 direct and indirect jobs could be created by 2040, pumping $5 billion into the economy each year.

Find out more 

Together with our coalition of business and industry partners, Australian Council of Trade Unions, Business Council of Australia and the Australian Conservation Foundation, WWF-Australia is calling on our leaders to make Australia the world’s leading exporter of renewable energy by 2030. 

A global shift towards renewable power and clean energy goods and services is already well underway, and early action can make Australia a leader and position workers and businesses for the future. We have an opportunity to create tens of thousands of well-paid jobs, mostly in regional areas and accessible by workers across all levels of skill and education.

To unlock these job opportunities for Australians, we’re asking for five significant new policies and actions:

  • Coordinated investment in 7 clean export precincts – to link Australia’s low-cost renewable energy resources and regional workforces to clean exports at precincts around the country
  • $10 billion co-investment in new industries – to directly support flagship projects and accelerate the scale-up of Australia’s clean export industries 
  • $5 billion fund for workers and regions delivered by a new energy transition authority with representatives from government, industry and unions to manage the disruption to regional economies and workers dependent on carbon-intensive industries
  • Support for low carbon materials in major infrastructure projects – to boost domestic demand, support new manufacturing capacity and lay foundations for exports
  • An interim target of 6GW of hydrogen and 3 green metals plants by 2027 – an ambitious target to galvanise collaboration between governments, industry, unions and the research and education sector to grow Australia’s clean export industry.

Read the full report here and to learn more visit Renewables Nation.