EU workers lack skills to green economy, EIB survey finds

Investment in green technologies in the EU is constrained by a shortage of skilled workers, European Investment Bank A survey of more than 12,500 businesses and about 680 authorities found.

The warning comes as the EU prepares to increase support for cleantech amid growing US competition for green investment.

More than four-fifths of companies and 60% of local governments surveyed by the EIB said that a lack of skills, especially in the engineering and digital sectors, hinders the implementation of projects aimed at changing of the climate According to the multilateral bank’s annual investment report released later Tuesday.

“Investment in limiting climate change is growing, but still well below what is needed to meet Europe’s zero-emissions target by 2050,” the report, based on surveys conducted in 2022, says.

The European Commission is set to unveil plans to improve the competitiveness of European cleantech industries on March 14, after Germany and France warned that the region risks falling further behind competitors in the race for investment.

The EIB, the world’s largest multilateral bank by assets, found that investment in “productive” industries in Europe has lagged behind investment in the US by the equivalent of 2 percent of gross domestic product per year over the past decade.

Biden administration Inflation Reduction ActThe $369 billion package, which includes extensive tax breaks and subsidies designed to boost green industry, has raised concerns that Persian Gulf with USA may expand even further.

France and Germany have urged Brussels to relax state aid rules – a move that would allow member states to funnel funds directly to industry – in response to the IRA.

But Werner Hoyer, EIB president, said the EU does not need “large-scale subsidies” to compete. Instead, he should reform “onerous administrative procedures,” he said in a speech in Luxembourg on Monday. “I speak from experience: our bankers have a huge portfolio of green industrial projects, but our clients are waiting for approvals, stuck in bureaucracy.”

Odile Renaud-Basso, president of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, told the Financial Times that the lack of projects to finance was the “first missing block” in climate change financing.

“In practice, we see that you first need to have projects,” Renaud-Basso said. “You can have trillions, but you need a project to invest them.”

Both the EU and the US want to end dependence on China, which dominates global supply chains for critical materials needed for electric vehicles, solar and wind energy.

However, Dries Ake, political director of trade organization SolarPower Europe, said that even with the “crazy export failure” of solar panels caused by Beijing’s strict quarantine measures, there were still more photovoltaic cells in the EU than it could install from – lack of trained electricians.

SolarPower Europe estimates that the number of workers in the solar energy sector needs to increase from 500,000 in 2021 to more than 1 million by 2030 in order for the commission to meet its target of 45% of the block’s energy coming from renewable sources by 2030. a figure that has not yet been agreed by the EU Member States.

The commission’s March proposals will also include “zero-emission industry academies” to help retrain workers, and ways to facilitate access for workers from outside the EU who have experience in “priority sectors”.

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