The green jobs of the future will not be limited to the energy industry. Large technology companies and computing services are already leading investment in renewable sources.

Esteve Almirall

Have you ever wondered which company is the world's largest purchaser of renewable energy? Initially, the answer might surprise you, but then you'll quickly see the logic behind the answer. It's Amazon AWS, Amazon's cloud service provider. In fact, they've topped the list for the fourth consecutive year! Boasting over 500 solar and wind projects, they have the capacity to supply renewable energy to over 7.2 million households, generating more than 77,000 GWh annually. 

You might ask, what does a cloud company have to do with investing in renewable energy? The answer is straightforward—it's one of the smartest moves they can make that directly impacts their bottom line. The simple reason is their massive energy consumption required to run data centers globally

Technology companies consume enormous amounts of energy to run their data centers globally

And Amazon is by no means the only one. Google and Microsoft are doing exactly the same, although each has a somewhat different focus. For example, Microsoft aims to solve the problem by investing in nuclear energy through new generation nuclear mini-plants. Given Microsoft's substantial investment in generative artificial intelligence (a high-energy-consuming technology) combined with the geographical location of their headquarters in Seattle, their nuclear energy bet makes perfect sense. 

The race for optimization

What do all these companies have in common? It's not just the ideological values of their executive teams, but in particular, how closely renewable energies align with their corporate interests, in both the long and short term, and in a sustainable manner. In this respect, industries such as cloud computing, AI, and chip manufacturing are at the forefront of reducing energy consumption. 

We see this trend even in industries seemingly far removed, like system software. In this field, there is currently a notable movement towards optimization. Indeed, until the emergence of generative AI, there wasn't an urgent problem with code efficiency; the preference was to advance functionality rather than optimize what existed. 

Generative AI has shifted current trends in system software towards to prioritize optimization

This has radically changed with generative AI, making optimization a priority. To such an extent that companies like Modular promise to improve the performance of current software by thousands of times—in extreme cases—and by tens in more typical scenarios. Chip manufacturers like Nvidia are on the same track. 

So when we ponder on what the green jobs of the future will be, we don’t need to look specifically at energy companies: they will be everywhere. Or at least where alignment with the business models is clear and taxes and legislation make it apparent.  

Mobilizing towards a green future

At all events, it is not just about energy; many sectors are yet to undergo transformation. Some have already undergone a sweeping transformation in the entire scenario of digitalization, with the consequent increase in their sustainability. A clear example can be seen here in all the physical media for discs, books, films and various electronic equipment. 

Yet, in other sectors sustainability remains unaddressed. Mobility is one of the most striking examples. The unsustainability of having a vast number of practically empty cars on the road, especially those that use fossil fuels, is apparent to all. Electrification is a step forward, but it's not enough.  

Self-driving electric cars could free up large areas of urban space

On the other hand, the introduction of self-driving electric cars operating on demand 24 hours a day, on an individual or shared basis, is a possible solution that would transform our cities, freeing up considerable space. This space could be used to build new facilities, green zones, or quality housing. 

Moreover, with self-driving, solar-driven electric vehicles (which is significantly cheaper) we wouldn't be stuck in constant traffic jams but would experience something much more fluid, especially when combined with total or partial remote work

The jobs of the future

Perhaps we are now able to answer the question posed in this article. Where are the green jobs of the future? They are everywhere. In some cases, because they clearly align with organizations' business and operating model; in others, it will be our duty to design a market that benefits from aligning with sustainability. At all events, what we need is a radical transformation, a large-scale social intervention, which undoubtedly lies in our hands. 

All written content is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.