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More than 1.1 Million People Employed in EU's Renewable Energy Sector

More than 1.1 million people have jobs in Europe's renewable energy sector, according to new figures released from EurObserv'ER, a renewable energy tracking project supported by the European Commission.

The numbers, which don’t even account for the massive boom in renewables development in 2011, show a 25 percent increase in employment between 2009 and 2010, bringing documented jobs in the renewable energy sector throughout Europe to 1,144,000.

The boost in activity in 2010 represented about €127 billion ($166 billion) in economic value, a 15 percent increase over 2009.

Unlike some reports documenting green jobs in the United States, these figures only include renewable fuels, heat and electricity. They do not include jobs in mass transportation, recycling, and green building design.

They show a very healthy diversity in Europe’s renewable energy sector. According to the 2010 figures, the top three sectors for employment were biomass (273,000), solar PV (268,110), and wind (253,145). The next largest were biogas (52,810) and solar thermal (49,845). Behind those sectors were ground source heat pumps, waste-to-energy, small hydro, and geothermal.

The increase in jobs corresponded with an increase in consumption of renewable energy. In 2010, renewables accounted for 12.4% of final energy consumption in Europe — up from 11.5 percent in 2009 and 10.5% in 2008.

And last year saw even stronger growth, particularly in the renewable electricity sector, where 68 percent of new capacity in Europe came from wind and solar.

Meanwhile in the U.S., the wind industry faces an expiration of short-term tax credits that threatens up to 37,000 manufacturing, installation and maintenance jobs. Will American politicians work to create one million jobs in renewable energy for people like Nathan Crawford documented in the video below?

Or will we allow other regions create millions more while we look backward? 

This article was originally published on Climate Progress and was republished with permission. 

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I am a reporter with ClimateProgress.org, a blog published by the Center for American Progress. I am former editor and producer for RenewableEnergyWorld.com, where I contributed stories and hosted the Inside Renewable Energy Podcast. Keep in to...

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