Energy, Power & Renewables
The renewable energy sector has seen rapid growth over recent years, driven largely by increased investment and significant reductions in manufacturing and installation costs. This growth has led to nearly 10 million people being employed in the renewable energy sector last year, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) announced last week, in their latest report.
IRENA's report, Renewable Energy and Jobs - Annual Review 2017, states that those employed in the global renewable energy sector in 2016, excluding large hydropower, hit 8.3 million. If employment in large hydropower is included, that figure climbs to 9.8 million.
Adnan Z. Amin, IRENA's director-general, said in a statement "Falling costs and enabling policies have steadily driven up investment and employment in renewable energy worldwide since IRENA's first annual assessment in 2012, when just over seven million people were working in the sector."
The report showed that solar photovoltaic was the biggest employer last year, accounting for 3.1 million jobs, up 12 percent compared to 2015. The wind sector represented 1.2 million jobs, while biofuels were responsible for 1.7 million jobs. "In the last four years, for instance, the number of jobs in the solar and wind sectors combined has more than doubled," Amin added.
Globally, IRENA said that 62 percent of jobs were to be found in Asia. In China alone, 3.64 million people were working in renewables last year, an increase of 3.4 percent. Africa was another area where utility scale developments had made "great strides", IRENA said, although off-grid solutions were also playing a key role.
The good news seems likely to continue in the future, especially as more countries take steps to combat climate change. Indeed, Amin went on to state that the potential for the renewables job sector was significant. "As the scales continue to tip in favour of renewables, we expect that the number of people working in the renewables sector could reach 24 million by 2030, more than offsetting fossil-fuel job losses and becoming a major economic driver around the world.