Creating more green jobs will be on the agenda at the COP 26 global climate change summit in Glasgow next month.
Wind turbine technicians, electric bus designers and carbon assessors – they are all jobs that hardly existed a generation ago and they’re all zero carbon to help with climate change.
The Government doesn’t have a national picture of just how many people work in green industries and unlike the UK, which has targets for skilled green jobs, we don’t have any.
Liam Lubransky is a wind turbine technician at Meridian Energy’s wind farm at Makara, near Wellington. He’s up the 60m towers every day, working on maintenance.
It’s a big change from his old job in oil and gas, and as well as being good for the environment, it comes with views over Wellington’s rugged west coast and on a good day, the South Island and sometimes even Mt Taranaki.
“Working in an environment like this is pretty amazing. You get to eat your lunch up here,” said Lubransky.
He’s one of about 190 technicians working on wind farms, but that numbers projected to swell by 400 percent in the next 14 years.
“Renewables is such a growing industry, it's nice to move to an industry with a lot more opportunities,” said Lubransky.
New Zealand has 20 windfarms but that’s expected to double by 2035 so as to power industrial boilers and more electric vehicles.
Luke Boys, once a petrolhead, now designs electric buses, which he never expected to do when he studied engineering.
“Coming into this industry [after] five years of doing diesel, and then moving into electric… I mean I grabbed it with both hands because I was excited about it,” said Boys.
The buses he’s working on at Kiwi Bus Builders in Tauranga will replace the old diesel dungers.
“This industry is just going to grow even further. We really need to try and push local manufacturing,” said Boys.
George Gray is an energy engineer for Lumen and helps businesses, from lines companies to hospitals, to cut their carbon footprint.
He thinks he’s in a job of the future.
“Everything has an impact when it comes to carbon. Being involved in looking at the whole picture in trying to improve the way we do things is important,” said Gray.