Market capacity for electricity generation and transmission projects

A report from Infrastructure Australia’s Market Capacity Program
Electricity grid Electricity distribution networks Labour supply Renewable energy Electricity Energy industries Infrastructure Australia

This report responds to a request from the Council of Australian Governments in March 2020 for Infrastructure Australia to regularly report on the capacity of the market to deliver on the record investment pipeline, reflecting the record investment in the sector and the necessary demand for skills and materials to meet these levels.

The report underscores the need for Australia’s governments and industry to work collaboratively, to advance sector-wide reform and reduce the risk of cost escalation and delays in the delivery of major infrastructure projects.

Key findings:

  • Labour and skill shortages may become a significant factor for the build out of renewable generation and transmission infrastructure, especially in regions with tight labour markets.
  • Labour demand in the electricity sector grows over time, fluctuating from 80,000 to 95,000 with the primary source of growth in large-scale renewable energy. Growth occurs across all major occupation groups except machine operators.
  • Key risks for shortages and constraints are identified both in the larger occupational groups (such as electricians, construction managers, electrical and grid engineers), but also some more specialised jobs (such as line workers for transmission construction or crane operators for wind power construction).
  • The current projections for labour demand in the energy sector could significantly underestimate growth, especially under ‘energy superpower’ scenarios where there is mass electrification and growth in renewable hydrogen for heavy industry, transport fuels and export with associated demand on labour and materials.
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