While working towards their climate goals and increasing their energy independence, countries are focusing more and more on one of the most perspective forms of energy generation, which is wind generation. Active wind farm development is attracting investors at a rapid rate. Edgaras Maladauskas, a representative of Lithuanian Wind Power Association, and Božena Petikonis-Šabanienė, Head of Human Resources at Ignitis Renewables, an international green energy company, are talking about potential challenges.

According to the representative of Lithuanian Wind Power Association Edgaras Maladauskas, Lithuania is implementing very ambitious wind farm projects. The tender for the development of the first offshore wind farm in Lithuania was announced at the end of March, and the tender for a second Lithuanian offshore wind farm is planned in autumn. The two wind farms with a combined capacity of up to 1.4 gigawatts (GW) are expected to start operating in the territorial sea of Lithuania by 2030, and they should generate up to 6 terawatt-hours (TWh) per year. It would cover half of the current electricity demand in Lithuania.

“Installing them would be an important step towards renewables-only energy sector in Lithuania. It is only natural that the projects of such scale are met with certain challenges, which multiplied due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine and the economic uncertainty. Similar challenges can be observed throughout the world, including rising prices, supply chain and logistical issues, technical issues related to limited grid capacities,” said E. Maladauskas.

He adds that Lithuania also has unique challenges related to legal framework and regulation. Finally, it should be highlighted that there’s a shortage of specialists required for wind energy development. This acute problem is very important in Lithuania since over the last year engineering studies did not attract much attention and interest from young people.

According to E. Maladauskas, the renewables industry will attract even more investments and create more attractive jobs. More and more professionals will choose developing renewables as their future. He underlines that currently the energy sector is mostly short on engineers with technical knowledge and skills.

Thousands of future jobs are already here – investments are being made into professionals to fill those positions

The European Green Deal explicitly states that the competitiveness of countries will depend on their ability to attract the competences necessary for the green energy sector. Therefore, it’s important to make sure that young people become interested in energy. Božena Petikonis-Šabanienė, Head of Human Resources, Baltics & Poland at Ignitis Renewables notes that the shortage of required specialists is one of the factors limiting the development of renewables. On the other hand, specialists who choose energy or engineering studies have a huge potential to get a well-paid job.

“It is a challenge as well as an opportunity. These opportunities are also closely associated with the values of the next generation. Children and students are starting to recognise their importance and value. Although they still sometimes lack understanding that the implementation of such goals is possible by taking very specific steps, which is choosing a profession related to the energy sector. That’s why we started the #EnergySmartSTART programme last year to introduce Lithuanian children and students to the modern energy sector, career opportunities and to encourage them to choose related professions,” said B. Petikonis-Šabanienė.

There’s plenty of opportunities

B. Petikonis-Šabanienė notes that the modern energy sector, including wind generation, is based on advanced technologies and innovations. Those technologies and innovations will play the deciding role while striving for climate neutrality and climate change mitigation, which is affected by human activity. For example, currently there’s a lot of work being done in the development of accumulation and storage solutions necessary to store the energy generated by wind farms and solar parks.

“Working in the green energy sector allows you to directly contribute to solving global problems. It is meaningful as well as interesting work, and it also offers wide growth opportunities. Additionally, the energy sector is vital to all, so professionals in this sector, despite the job market trends in the future, will always remain relevant and in demand,” said B. Petikonis-Šabanienė.

According to Eurostat, the environmental economy, including the green energy sector, in 2020 in the EU had 5.1 million jobs and generated EUR 828 billion in revenue. The employment and added-value indicators of the green energy sector in the EU are rising more rapidly compared to the rest of the economy.