Decarbonisation is linked to many other goals beyond climate change mitigation. Replacing coal power generation with renewable energy can, among other things, generate employment opportunities.
In Poland, job growth from renewables would outweigh job losses from closed coal power plants at least four to one in a scenario where coal is phased out in line with a 1.5°C pathway and replaced with solar and wind compared to following current plans for coal capacity developments.
We estimate that at least 44,000, and up to over 90,000, new jobs in renewable energy could be created from replacing the phased-out coal-fired power generation with solar and wind power generation, compared to 11,000 jobs that would be lost in coal plant operation and maintenance.
Our analysis focuses on direct jobs in manufacturing of technology parts (to the degree this happens within the country), construction and installation as well as operation and maintenance of power coal, wind and solar capacities. Other existing electricity generation technologies have not been taken into account, nor has growth in electricity demand due to increased electrification, which would increase job estimates. Additional jobs related to storage can also be expected when transitioning towards solar and wind.
Jobs in coal mining (for export or local use) are also not included in this analysis. Estimates from a World Bank report suggest that in 2019 there were around 92,600 people working in the Polish coal mining industry (incl. lignite), but coal production trends in Poland have been declining since the 1990’s and discussion on a just transition process for the sector are ongoing at the national level.
You can find more information on the methodology and assumptions also linking to more detailed results here.