Renewable energies: Europe has ambitions… but no qualified personnel?

Mallory Delicourt

February 28, 2023 at 2 p.m.


solar farm © Shutterstock

© Shutterstock

According to the results of a survey of 12,500 companies and 685 local authorities, the shortage of skilled workers in the renewable energy sector is holding back investment.

Europe is still lagging behind the United States, and administrative obstacles would not help matters.

Skills shortage in the European Union

The European Investment Bank (EIB) has just published the results of an EU-wide survey, and the results are striking. 80% of companies and 60% of local authorities indicated that the shortage of digital and engineering skills was preventing many energy transition projects from progressing as they should.

This observation is made at a time when the EU is preparing to announce increased funding aimed at making companies involved in the fight against climate change more competitive. The EIB also notes that investment in so-called productive industries lagged behind that of the United States by the equivalent of 2% of GDP per year for the past 10 years.

Investments to limit climate change are increasing, but remain well below what would be needed to reach the European goal of net zero emissions by 2050. »

France and Germany have already reacted by asking the European Union to relax the rules concerning state aid in order to be able to invest directly in the companies concerned. The European Commission is expected to present new measures to boost the competitiveness of green businesses on March 14. In particular, there will be projects facilitating retraining and the recruitment of experienced workers from outside the EU.

Excessive administrative obstacles?

Werner Hoyer, President of the EIB, believes that the European Union did not need to set up large-scale subsidies. According to him, we should rather think about reforming administrative procedures, which are currently considered too cumbersome. ” I speak from experience: our bankers have a huge pipeline of green industrial projects, but our clients are waiting for permits, stuck in bureaucracy “, he says.

This statement contrasts with that of Odile Renaud-Basso, President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. She told the Financial Times that the number one shortfall was the number of climate change projects to be funded. “ What we actually see on the ground is that you first have to have projects. You can have billions of billions, but to invest them you must have plans. »

Finally, let us recall that while the European Union is in competition with the United States, both are seeking to break out of their dependence on China with regard to the materials necessary for the production of wind turbines, photovoltaic panels, or even electric vehicles.

Source : FinancialTimes

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