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Renewable Energy sector employs 11 million people worldwide

17/06/2019
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Renewable energy jobs have grown to their highest level according to the latest analysis by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), with 11 million people employed by the sector worldwide in 2018.


(Image via Wikimedia)

Despite slow growth in the Chinese renewables market, employment rose from 10.3 million in 2017.

The agency attribute the growth to the diversification of the renewable energy supply chain in East and Southeast Asian countries, with countries such as Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam emerging as key exporters of solar photovoltaic panels and allowing Asia to maintain a 60% share of renewable energy jobs worldwide.

There are over three million people in Asia working in jobs relating to solar photovoltaic - putting the industry in the top spot with a third of the total renewable energy workflow, ahead of liquid biofuels, hydropower and wind power. Employment in photovoltaic jobs also expanded in India and Brazil, while falling in the United States, Japan and the European Union. 

Wind power supports 1.2 million jobs globally, with most activity taking place onshore - though the offshore segment is growing and could build on expertise and infrastructure currently used in the Oil & Gas industry. China leads wind power employment - with around 44% of the share - followed by Germany and the United States.

Biofuel jobs increased by 6% to 2.1 million globally - led by Brazil, Colombia and Southeast Asia where a rise in output and labour-intensive supply chains increased employment. 

Hydropower is expanding slowly with more than 2.1 million people directly employed - three quarters of whom are in operations and maintenance.

“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.

“Renewables deliver on all main pillars of sustainable development – environmental, economic and social. 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.”

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Renewable Energy sector employs 11 million people worldwide - Time to read 2 min
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