China's low-carbon transition generates new jobs

(Xinhua) 08:37, July 20, 2023

TAIYUAN, July 19 (Xinhua) -- It is just past 10 a.m. and some people are rapidly tapping keyboards, while some are sitting in front of their computers whispering to others or busy answering phone calls, making the place look like a stock exchange.

"Instead of trading stocks, we are trading electric power," said Zhang Shuai, a power trader in the electricity sales company in north China's coal-rich province of Shanxi.

A new occupation in China, a power trader is responsible for calculating the supply and demand of the electricity market at different times by analyzing regional economic conditions, weather, power plant operations and other factors to make transactions or offer suggestions.

As the country with the largest installed renewable energy capacity in the world, China encourages the public to prioritize the consumption of new energy power, thus requiring traditional power plants to cap their generated thermal power so that their electricity will not be wasted or sold at low prices.

In the past, the price of electricity was fixed, but now electricity can be sold on the spot market at fluctuating prices based on market demand.

"The profession of power trader gradually emerged following electricity trading on the spot market," said Liu Yifan, a trader at a power plant, adding that he mainly focuses on how to make the generated power of his plant more profitable.

Shanxi is among the first batch of provinces in China to pilot the spot market for power trading. As a traditional energy base, the local government's commitment to low-carbon transformation has delivered more new jobs.

Yang Zhenqiang is a low-carbon consultant in the renovation process of a nearly 7,000-square-meter office building in the city of Changzhi. His job is to reduce carbon emissions and improve the energy efficiency of the building.

The building emits 905 tonnes of carbon dioxide yearly. But with Yang's suggested measures, like the installation of photovoltaic panels on the roof and external wall insulation, the emissions of the building are expected to be cut by nearly 600 tonnes a year.

"After renovation, the building will save about 240,000 yuan (about 33,600 U.S. dollars) on heating costs and 110,000 yuan on electricity bills every year," said Yang.

Low-carbon consultant was one of the 18 new occupations announced by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security in 2022. A low-carbon consultant is defined as a consulting service provider who applies energy-saving and emission-reduction technologies to engage in the evaluation, adjustment and transformation of buildings, their environment and accessory equipment.

The 2022 edition of the occupational classification code of China identifies 134 green occupations, accounting for about 8 percent of the total number, covering energy conservation, environmental protection, clean production and other fields.

"The emergence of green jobs shows that the concept of green development is deeply rooted in our society," said Liu Wang, a carbon accountant who explained that his work is to calculate the greenhouse gas emission data of a specific region, an enterprise or a certain product, to provide data support for carbon verification and carbon trading.

As China continues to promote green and low-carbon transformation, talent cultivation is also accelerating. In 2022, the Ministry of Education issued documents to incorporate green and low-carbon concepts into the education and teaching system, and many universities have set up carbon-neutral schools to train professionals in the industry.

"In the future, more green jobs will emerge in green finance, new energy, environmental protection consulting and renewable resource recycling, and more talent will be employed," said Liu Wang.

(Web editor: Zhang Kaiwei, Liang Jun)


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