Energy Efficiency

Renewable energy provided jobs to 11 mn people in 2018: IRENA report

Solar photovoltaics (PV) industry emerged as the top employer with 3.6 million jobs

 
By DTE Staff
Last Updated: Thursday 13 June 2019
Photo: Getty Images

The renewable energy industry created employment opportunities for nearly 11 million people worldwide in 2018, due to the widespread adoption of renewable technologies, according to the latest report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). 

From 7.28 million jobs in 2012, it grew up to 10.98 million — the highest — in 2018, despite slower growth in key renewable energy markets including China, showed the report titled Renewable Energy and Jobs – Annual Review 2019.

The biggest employers were:

  • Solar photovoltaics (PV) — 3.6 million
  • Bioenergy — 2.1 million
  • Hydro — 2.1 million 
  • Wind power industries — 2 million 

“Beyond climate goals, governments are prioritising renewables as a driver of low-carbon economic growth in recognition of the numerous employment opportunities created by the transition to renewables,” said Francesco La Camera, director-general of IRENA, in a statement.

“As the global energy transformation gains momentum, this employment dimension reinforces the social aspect of sustainable development and provides yet another reason for countries to commit to renewables,”  La Camera added.

Importantly, 32 per cent the renewable energy workforce is represented by women. It is higher than the 22 per cent average reported for the global oil and gas industry, the report showed.

Moreover, the renewable energy’s geographic footprint has changed significantly since 2012.

Until now, China, the United States and the European Union have largely remained the major markets for renewable energy industries. However, it has now significant presence in east and southeast Asian countries, who have emerged key exporters of solar PV panels, along with China.

Countries including Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam were responsible for a greater share of growth in renewables jobs last year, which allowed Asia to maintain a 60 per cent share of renewable energy jobs worldwide. India accounted for 719,000 jobs in 2018, the report noted.

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