|Construction works in Dagachhu Hydropower Development in Bhutan|
By Rebecca Clark
The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) announced, in a report issued at its 11th Council meeting, that employment had risen in the renewable energy industry by 5% over the last year bringing the total to an impressive 8.1 million people employed across the sector, with hydropower providing an additional 1.3 million positions. This comes alongside the news that employment in traditional energy sectors is on the decline.
The industry report, Renewable Energy and Jobs Annual Review, provided a detailed look into employment across all energy sectors, both renewable and traditional across the globe. Solar photovoltaic and wind energy providing some of the highest percentages of rising employment opportunities by 11% and 26% respectively in the US, Germany and China. These increases are the result of enabled policy frameworks in the US, South America and Asia where the majority of renewable energy positions are held.
“The continued job growth in the renewable energy sector is significant because it stands in contrast to trends across the energy sector,” said IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin. “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.”
Countries where we are seeing particularly high numbers of renewable energy sector jobs are where we are also seeing the highest percentages of increased opportunities. The US had 6% more jobs in its renewables industry than in 2015 whilst its employment in the oil and gas industry dipped by 18%. In China, just under a million more citizens are employed in the renewable energy sector than in the oil and gas sector.
The future of renewable energy seems to be particularly bright as solar PV, wind and liquid biofuels employment continues to not only lead the energy pack but continues to rise as the industry evolves, providing ever more employment and opportunities for development across the globe.
“As the ongoing energy transition accelerates, growth in renewable energy employment will remain strong,” said Mr. Amin. “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.”
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