Employment associated with Renewable and Sustainable Energy Development in the Kingston Region
MacCallum, A. Megan
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The Kingston region has become a hub for sustainable energy development, in part because of the local geography’s potential to support biomass, wind and solar energy, as well as the availability of workers with necessary skill sets and knowledge, and the presence of educational institutions associated with alternative energy. A 2011 review of the region also found that Ontario’s Green Energy and Green Economy Act (2009), which provides incentives for renewable energy development, has had a significant influence on the initial growth of the local renewable energy sector. Kingston’s renewable energy sector will be assessed to explore the local green labour trends and specific features of work, using four green job definitions (new direct, new indirect, ongoing direct and ongoing indirect) to effectively characterize green employment. This research combines a review of local projects, online surveys, and semi-structured interviews to gain a comprehensive perspective of green work within the sector. Green work was categorized into new, ongoing and temporary as well as direct and indirect employment to provide greater detail based on the type of green work. The results suggested that the region’s renewable energy sector is dominated by employment in solar energy, and that workers are predominantly specialized with technical skills. Approximately 65% of survey respondents noted their work indirectly supports renewable energy projects, providing secondary services and products. A series of multipliers were developed to estimate the number of jobs created in each category of employment on a per megawatt (MW) basis. Specifically, survey data estimates that for every one new direct job, 0.65 new indirect jobs might be created, while 0.39 ongoing direct jobs and 1.06 ongoing indirect jobs might be retained. Using these multipliers, it can be estimated that 242 direct and indirect green jobs related to the renewable energy sector will be created across twelve wind and solar projects completed, approved or proposed within the region.