Analysis of the Labor Impacts of Clean Energy Transitions in the Power Sector in India

Thumbnail Image


Publication or External Link





The inevitability of climate action means that India needs to rapidly transition to a low-carbon economy while working towards its development goals. Though considered an emerging economy, India still lags behind on development indicators such as employment generation, and poverty eradication. As creation of ‘green jobs’ is recognized as an important co-benefit of climate mitigation, clean energy transitions can help India meet both its climate and employment goals. However, assessments of the labor impacts of clean energy transitions for India remain limited. In this dissertation, I explore the case of the power sector in India in detail.

I first assess the economy-wide labor impacts of power generation in India in 2030 under different decarbonization scenarios. I use input-output modeling for this analysis. Second, I assess the regional distribution of the labor impacts associated with clean energy transitions using a spread-sheet based model. Finally, I assess the distribution of jobs in renewable and fossil-fuel based industries by skills.

My results show that the total job creation in scenarios with accelerated deployment of renewable energy (RE) is relatively lower than business-as-usual scenarios on account of lower total power generation in the former scenarios, and greater economy-wide labor impacts of coal. I also find that the new jobs that are generated in solar and wind sectors will be concentrated in the western and southern parts of India, with 60% of the total jobs being generated in the states of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu. Clean energy transitions would increase the requirement of semi-skilled, and skilled RE workforce, particularly for solar, in these states.

In order to maximize the employment benefits associated with clean energy transitions, the Indian government should design industrial policies to steer domestic manufacturing of clean energy technologies. Coal-rich eastern states should be prioritized as locations for development of new industries to compensate for the clean energy transitions related job, and economic revenue losses. Finally, employment data for energy sector, including renewable technologies, should be collected regularly for a better assessment of the social and economic impacts of clean energy transitions.