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Renewable energy options bring new occupations for skilled workers

Tapping into the alternate sources of renewable energy is seen as a ‘game changer’ in terms of satisfying Pakistan’s growing appetite for energy, but at the same time it is also opening up new jobs and occupations for the skilled workers.Worldwide the use of renewable energies as clean energies and available in urban as well in remote areas is a strong feature and on a constant rise. In Pakistan, which is going through the energy crisis, a visible shift is seen towards generating electricity from different natural resources. This change has led to opening up of new segments in the labor market and qualified workers with sound qualification in installing PV panels, solar water heating equipment or maintaining hydropower plants have better job opportunities.Renewable energy options bring new occupations for skilled workers

Promotion of renewable energies, this is also one of the areas of capacity development of the TVET Reform Support Programme (TSRP). The TRSP is funded by the European Union, the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Federal Republic of Germany and the Royal Norwegian Embassy. The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) implements this Programme in close collaboration with National Vocational and Technical Training Commission (NAVTTC).

One of the focal areas is to develop and implement competency based training schemes and one of the priorities is to foster the implementation of training schemes for renewable energies, in particular

• A Building Electrician with PV panel installation (BET)
• A Plumber with installation of Solar Water Heating (PLUMB)
• A Technician for Micro Hydro Power plants (MHP)
• A Technician and a Supervisor for Biogas plants

Renewable energy options bring new occupations for skilled workers1The schemes for BET and PLUMB will pave the way for capacity building, which is going to have a spanning effect in the job market. The perspective is to work with one of the upcoming private installation companies or to set up an own little company after having gained practical experience in the field. The application of PV panel in particular is rapidly increasing and is seen as an option for stable electricity supply for running aircons, lighting, fridges etc, at least during day time with some battery back up to extend run time after sun set. It is also the appropriate solution for remote areas with not access to the public grid system. Furthermore, in urban areas the “hybrid systems” with the automatic switch between own consumption and supplying the public grid is a growing feature.

The use of solar water hearing systems is a simple and much cost efficient technology and is rapidly expanding as well, despite the still rather low gas price. However, in Pakistan with its stable sunshine of 10 month of the year the use of solar water heating is a sound alternative to the otherwise expensive natural gas, and again in particular in those areas with unstable energy supply. Qualified workers with a sound qualification in installing solar water heating systems enter a growing labor market.

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Technical Education and Vocational Training Authority (KPTEVTA) with the support of TSRP is introducing a new training scheme to produce technicians for Micro Hydro Power (MHP) plants. More than 600 MHP plant each with a capacity between 50 and 150 KW capacity will be established to ease the shortage of electricity in rural and mountainous areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) in years to come.Renewable energy options bring new occupations for skilled workers2However, each of the power plant require sound operation and maintenance, otherwise efficiency drops already after some years and reduces the life span of the plants drastically, which –unfortunately- is currently the case due to a lack of trained MHP technicians. It is estimated that in KP over the next year a total of approx 4,000 MHP technicians must be trained to meet the demand of the labor market.

In close cooperation with the TEVTAs in Punjab, KPK, Balochistan and Sindh the training institutions for the BET, PLUMP and MHP schemes have been selected and training will commence in September 2015 as provincial pilots. The TEVTAs in cooperation with NAVTTC will need to plan for a widespread national roll out of these training schemes in the coming years.Likewise, the government of the Punjab is implementing a big scheme to set up 100,000 biogas plants over the coming year. In close cooperation with the Punjab Skills Development Fund, the TRSP has facilitated the generation of CBT based training schemes and training materialfor biogas experts.

During 2015 alone a total of up to 3500 biogas technicians and supervisors will be trained. The biogas plant will be established at farm level and the biogas will be used to run engines for tube wells to pump water for the irrigation systems. However, biogas can also be used for heating, cooking or lighting purpose. The left over after the fermentation process in the biogas plant can be used as fertilizer on agricultural land.In essence, application of renewable energies is a win – win situation, easing the energy crisis, using renewable resources and providing opportunities at the labor markets.

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