With the growth of the biogas sector, there is a growing need for labour and new skills. The development forecasts for the next 10 years should enable us to create thousands of jobs throughout France, as close as possible to the production sites. How many? Which ones?
France has many renewable energy resources. They offer numerous opportunities for developing biomethane production sites. Different people are needed to develop these new installations, for example, engineers are needed to carry out feasibility studies and write technical reports, specialists are required to create financial and administrative packages, and workers are also needed to build the sites, technicians are needed to maintain them and operators are required to operate them.
Ten years of uninterrupted growth
The biomethane sector has created many direct and indirect jobs in the regions. Direct jobs are those related to the production itself and indirect jobs are those created at companies and subcontractors that provide services to the sector. It’s considered that, on average, 3 to 4 direct jobs are created per installation, notably in operations and maintenance.
In 2009, we identified 870 people1 working in the biogas sector. In 2019, approximately 4,000 jobs were identified2. They are spread across 500 companies, including 35 equipment suppliers (manufacturers in particular), and over 860 biogas production units, including 123 of which are producing biomethane.
What is a non-relocatable job?
This is a job that must carried out in a given geographical area. Therefore, this rules out any risk of the job being moved (relocated). The main activities that generate non-relocatable jobs are currently in the environmental field.
Thousands of jobs have yet to be created
As there are two ways of recovering biogas being developed, injecting biomethane into the natural gas network and cogeneration, there will be more and more jobs created. A study3 involving all stakeholders in the sector showed three different scenarios regarding the predicted number of non-relocatable direct and indirect jobs that will be created by 2030. Depending on the number of installations that could be operational on this date (1,000, 2,000 or 3,000 units corresponding to different production capacities of 18 TWh, 38 TWh and 50 TWh), the number of jobs would be multiplied by either 4, 8 or 13 compared to 2019! The sector would therefore employ approximately 15,000, 30,000 or 50,000 people, of which 60% would be in direct employment and 40% would be in indirect employment.
A demand for diverse skills
From a CPC (Certificate of Professional Competence) to a Master’s level education, there are a wide variety of jobs covering the needs of the sector. They include roles related the implementation and operation of a anaerobic digestion unit, for example, consulting and engineering, civil engineering and roads and utilities, equipment and installation, production and transport of intermediate energy crops, operation, equipment maintenance, etc.
Training courses have also been created in recent years. They are suitable for both project developers and operators. Whether initial or further training, these courses primarily aim to provide a better understanding of the main issues related to anaerobic digestion. Topics covered include, biological mechanisms, operation of equipment, quality criteria for production or even, risk management associated with health and safety and heat. Among the most recent training courses listed, a “Biogas maintenance technician” course is offered by the Industrial Resources Institute. Another course for farmers, organised by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food, allows them to obtain a university degree in the “Implementation of a biogas plant” in one year.
1 Statista 2017
2 Transitions 2019 and GR 2019 Panorama
3 Transition Study, July 2019