Record numbers of people are now employed in the renewable energy industry, a new report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has claimed. The report, Renewable Energy and Jobs – Annual Review 2016, was released this week, and shows a global increase in employment of 5% over last year to a global total of over 8.1 million. A further 1.3 million people are estimated to work in the large hydro sector.
“The continued job growth in the renewable energy sector is significant because it stands in contrast to trends across the energy sector. This increase is being driven by declining renewable energy technology costs and enabling policy frameworks. We expect this trend to continue as the business case for renewables strengthens and as countries move to achieve their climate targets agreed in Paris.” – Adnan Amin, director general, IRENA
Interestingly, the report noted that growth in the renewable energy industry in 2015 continued despite a drop in employment in the energy sector as a whole. In the United States, the renewable energy industry grew employment 6%, while oil and gas shrank by 18%. China, which has quickly become a clean tech world leader, now employs almost one million more people when compared to its oil and gas industry (3.5 million vs. 2.6 million). Brazil and India were also amongst the biggest renewable employers, highlighting the increased role that developing and non-western nations are are playing in the industry.
Solar The Biggest Renewable Energy Employer Globally
Solar is now the largest employer in clean tech, with over 2.8 million working with solar PV and solar thermal globally. Japan made particularly impressive progress with solar PV, with employment jumping 28% in 2014, while Germany remains some distance ahead of all other E.U. nations, particularly for solar and wind energy. The report also notes the ongoing development of several solar and wind projects in African nations such as Egypt, Kenya and Morocco. IRENA has also tentatively suggested that a greater proportion of women are employed globally in the renewable energy industry when compared to the energy sector as a whole.
As the ongoing energy transition accelerates, growth in renewable energy employment will remain strong. IRENA’s research estimates that doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix by 2030 – enough to meet global climate and development targets – would result in more than 24 million jobs worldwide.” – Adnan Amin, director general, IRENA
The report goes hand in hand with the 2016 Canadian Clean Technology Industry (CCTI) Report, published earlier this year, which showed continued growth of the clean tech industry in Canada. You can read more about the CCTI report, as well as the goals, obstacles and continuing development of the clean tech industry in Canada here.