Sims raises doubts about solar panels as a report expresses concern about the impact on coal jobs.

A prominent advocate for Australia’s green energy transition questions whether the nation holds a comparative advantage in the solar panel industry, which the Albanese government is supporting with a $1 billion investment. This support comes amid concerns about regions facing potential job losses due to the decline of coal-fired power stations, where some workers earn up to $170,000.

Economist Rod Sims emphasizes the necessity of a significant number of solar panels to harness the opportunities presented by abundant renewable solar energy. However, he highlights uncertainty regarding the industry’s economic viability and its ability to generate high-paying jobs. Sims stresses the importance of supporting industries with a clear future and comparative advantage, though he remains unsure if solar panels meet these criteria.

This warning aligns with the perspective of Labor-appointed Productivity Commission chairwoman Danielle Wood. Government projections indicate that a substantial percentage of coal-fired power station workers may struggle to secure new employment as fossil-fuel generation diminishes in the coming decade.

Former Labor minister and ACTU boss Greg Combet is set to address strategies for government intervention at the National Press Club, outlining plans to urge energy giants like AGL and Origin to contribute to retraining and retirement packages for affected workers.

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