Energy industry leaders warn that supply chain pressures and green skills shortages could hamper the renewable energy transition

Leaders within the energy industry have expressed concern that regulatory barriers, supply chain constraints, and a lack of green skills will need to be addressed if the world is to accelerate deployment of renewable energy sources and meet climate targets.
August 18, 2023

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Energy sector leaders warn transition faces notable barriers

A new study by Bureau Veritas has found that 82% of energy industry leaders believe that the current strategy of boosting capacity growth in renewables remains the best way to cut global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the energy sector. However, the 2023 Global Energy Transition Report also revealed that energy industry leaders are divided on whether we will achieve the goal of the Paris Agreement to limit warming to 1.5 degrees, given the current pace of the energy transition.

Between February and April this year, Bureau Veritas gathered the opinions of 806 energy industry experts and leaders from across the globe. Crucially, the study found that 90% of respondents said they believe the sector will face challenges in growing and diversifying its key supply chains as the deployment of renewables accelerates[i].  Offering insight into the key barriers threatening to stall the energy transition, almost all respondents (98%) said regulatory issues were one of their top 3 barriers. This was followed by a lack of available and feasible project sites (50%) and a lack of supply chain resilience[ii].

Weak supply chain resilience puts growth at risk

The research draws attention to challenges faced within supply chains, particularly a lack of resilience, something which has become noticeably apparent across industries, both during the COVID-19 pandemic and with the war in Ukraine. It highlights that clean technology production is largely found within a small number of countries, creating risk due to geographical concentration. Half of respondents said there is a lack of resilience in supply chains, which has led to disruption in the past three years, and more than 30% identify geographical concentration as their top supply chain issue.

“The supply chains for clean technologies are currently concentrated in just a few countries, with China being the undisputed frontrunner. The country handles 97% of the global manufacturing of wafers for PV cells and has 75% of the world’s production capacity for battery cells.”[iii]

The research argues that supply chain resilience is now a c-suite issue, with business leaders urged to prioritise sourcing and long-term planning for supply chain sustainability to help alleviate risk at a time when demand is likely to increase and scrutiny of supplier credentials is also predicted to grow given the rise of ESG.

Mind the gap: skilled workers needed now, not later

Further impacting the energy transition is the demand for skilled workers- global renewable capacity is expected to increase by almost 75% between 2022 and 2027, and this growth will require a highly skilled workforce operating in the correct locations, given the varying maturity levels between markets. Presently, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) estimates that over 38 million people globally could be employed in renewable energy by 2030[iv].

In the Bureau Veritas survey, respondents specified recruiting engineers and technical staff, retaining qualified staff, and recruiting construction site workers in the right location as the top three obstacles in mobilising the necessary workforce. They also noted concerns regarding the current employees, with 30% of survey respondents saying that reskilling and the associated cost of this is a key challenge. Of course, this will be critical given that many skilled workers currently employed in the energy industry are engaged in activities relating to fossil fuels; thus, this segment of the workforce will need to transition into clean energy roles.

However, respondents noted that with demand growing for skilled workers, the market for such individuals is becoming increasingly competitive and could see the roll-out of clean energy hampered. Over two-thirds (70%) of survey respondents said that recruitment was a challenge, and 40% stated that they are struggling to retain talent. The report highlights the important role government will have to play, such as that which the European Commission has played in launching several academies as part of the Net Zero Industry Act announced in March this year. Yet, it also cautions that industry standards and certification programmes will be crucial with many skills being self-declared and qualifications varying greatly between nations. It highlights an example relating to wind energy production, where: “Employers demand certification by GWO, a wind industry body which certifies technicians’ safety knowledge and technical skills. However, 80% of technicians today do not yet hold a valid certificate.”[v] According to GWEC and GWO research, 570k trained technicians will be needed to construct, install, operate and maintain the global onshore and offshore wind fleet due to be commissioned by 2026.[vi]

ZCA research set to explore the green skills gap

In our upcoming research, we will explore the growing concern around a global green skills shortage. Further, it will analyse current Gen-Z attitudes towards the workplace, including results from our recent survey of Gen-Z individuals; the research will also be supported by market forecasts looking at the green skills gap. Lastly, the research will summarise our key findings and explore potential solutions for employers as they seek to attract green talent over the coming months and years. 

Register your interest via the form below to be notified as soon as this research launches.




[ii] Ibid

[iii] Ibid


[v] BV-Energy-Transition-WP-final-version-EN-June-2023.pdf (

[vi] 63315a42069c6b0aa5079a4d_Global Wind Workforce Outlook 2022-2026.pdf (

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Lauren Foye
Head of Reports

Lauren has extensive experience as an analyst and market researcher in the digital technology and travel sectors. She has a background in researching and forecasting emerging technologies, with a particular passion for the Videogames and eSports industries. She joined the Critical Information Group as Head of Reports and Market Research at GRC World Forums, and leads the content and data research team at the Zero Carbon Academy. “What drew me to the academy is the opportunity to add content and commentary around sustainability across a wealth of industries and sectors.”

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