Renewable Energy Job Growth Unique in Global Energy Sector

Job growth in renewable energies is bucking the trends across the global energy sector, Adnan Amin, director-general for the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), said on May 25.

According to a new report released by IRENA — Renewable Energy and Jobs — Annual Review 2016 more than 8.1 million people worldwide are now employed by the renewable energy industry — a five percent increase from last year.

renewable energy“The continued job growth in the renewable energy sector is significant because it stands in contrast to trends across the energy sector,” Amin said in a statement. “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.”

The total number of renewable energy jobs worldwide rose in 2015, while jobs in the broader energy sector fell, the report said. In the U.S., for example, renewable energy jobs increased 6 percent, while employment in oil and gas decreased 18 percent. Likewise in China, renewable energy employed 3.5 million people, while oil and gas employed 2.6 million.

According to the report, countries with the most renewable energy jobs in 2015 included China, Brazil, the U.S., India, Japan and Germany. The solar PV sector remained the largest renewable energy employer worldwide, with 2.8 million jobs in manufacturing, installation and operations and maintenance. Liquid biofuels was the second largest global employer with 1.7 million jobs, followed by wind power, which grew 5 percent to reach 1.1 million global jobs, the report said.

In addition, the report said that, the EU, the U.K., Germany and Denmark were the global leaders in offshore wind employment. Overall, job figures in the EU declined for the fourth year due to weak economic growth. Jobs fell 3 percent to 1.17 million in 2014, the last year for which data is available. Germany remained the highest EU renewables employer.

Lead image credit: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers photo by Carlos J. Lazo | Flickr

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