Led by solar power, renewable energy, including large hydropower, now employs 10.3 million people across the world, a 5.3 percent increase over 2016. Excluding large hydropower, renewable energy employed 8.8 million across the world. Solar power alone acocunted for 3.4 million jobs, up nearly 9 percent, according to the latest Renewable Energy and Jobs – Annual Review released by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
“This data supports our analysis that decarbonization of the global energy system can grow the global economy and create up to 28 million jobs in the sector by 2050,” said Adnan Amin, IRENA director-general.
“Renewable energy has become a pillar of low-carbon economic growth for governments all over the world, a fact reflected by the growing number of jobs created in the sector,” Amin added. “The data also underscores an increasingly regionalized picture, highlighting that in countries where attractive policies exist, the economic, social and environmental benefits of renewable energy are most evident.”
The report included multiple types of renewable energy, from wind and solar to biogas and fuels as well as geothermal energy. It found that China led the way with 4.2 million jobs and overall a handful of countries, including Brazil, the US, India, Germany and Japan, in respective order, are the world’s largest renewable energy employers and account for more than 70 percent of all the jobs in the industry.
“The energy transformation is one of improving economic opportunity and a rise in social wellbeing as countries implement supportive policies and attractive regulatory frameworks to fuel industrial growth and sustainable job creation,” said IRENA Deputy Director of Knowledge, Policy and Finance Dr. Rabia Ferroukhi.
While solar jobs grew overall, solar jobs in Japan and the US fell slightly in 2017 but they were still among the top five employers in the industry. China had 2.2 million jobs in the solar industry, expanding 13 percent over 2016. India and Bangladesh rounded out the top five in solar employment in 2017.
While renewable energy jobs grew overall, the wind industry saw a slight fall in jobs to 1.2 million, the report found. China led the way in that sector, too with 44 percent of all wind jobs (510,000). North America and Europe comprised the majority of other wind energy jobs.
“By providing policy makers with this level of detail about the composition of renewable energy employment and skills requirements, countries can make informed decisions on several important national objectives, from education and training, to industrial policies and labor market regulations,” continued Dr. Ferroukhi. “Such considerations will support a fair and equitable transition to a renewables based energy system.”Tweet