Labor intensity of different energy sources?

How many jobs are created by different types of energy? This data-file aggregates the labor intensity of different energy sources: wind, solar, oil, gas, coal and nuclear, based on data from the United States and from underlying projects.

Direct labor intensity of different energy sources tends to vary between 75-150 workers per TWH of useful energy. The gas industry is among the most efficient power sectors, providing 100 jobs per TWH of useful energy. Oil-fired transportation is less efficient at 135 workers per TWH, rising to 730 per TWH if you include service station staff.

Renewables have a jagged profile. A typical wind and solar project creates 250-500 jobs per TWH during the construction phase, but only just 20-30 during the operational phase. So in the short-run, jobs may be created by expanding renewables but in the long-run, they may be destroyed.

One observation is that different stakeholders often have different ambitions over labor intensity of different energy sources. Investors and consumers often prefer less labor-intensive projects, as they are more economical. However policymakers see to prefer more labor-intensive projects, in order to promote employment.

The peak number of workers on site is plotted for 35 large projects across the energy, materials and infrastructure sectors, as a further useful reference in this data-file. For example, constructing the London Olympics required 12,000 workers at peak, while constructing Heathrow Terminal 5 used 8,000 workers at peak. Similar numbers can be calcualted for LNG projects, large-scale wind, solar, pipelines, CCS and mining projects.

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