Renewable energy ‘skills gap’

Apologies for getting here late today — mid-term grades were due at noon… Since I’ve got education on the brain, I found this article from the BBC interesting: apparently, the Brits are finding that a lack of college graduates in physics may eventually undermine their renewable energy goals.

The Institute of Physics report – entitled The Role of Physics in Renewable Energy Research and Development – highlights a lack of general skills and specific technical skills which it says will hamper efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

Encouraging more physicists to study renewable energy sources could help plug that skills gap, the report says.

But there is very little data available to show exactly which skills are lacking, it adds.

Report author Judith Bates said:” A solution to this problem would be to estimate the future skills and educational needs, from research and development through to applied engineering, and make an effort to ensure these skills are provided.”

I have to wonder if similar situations won’t arise in other parts of the world — I know that in the US we’re often lamenting our lack of scientific knowledge generally, or the dismal test scores of our secondary students in science, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see findings like these here. At the same time, I have to wonder if the promise of a “renewable energy future” might entice some students this way — either for the excitement of being part of something big, or (and probably more likely) for the high-paying jobs renewable energy’s growth will likely create.

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