More than 8.1 million people worldwide are now employed by the renewable energy industry – a 5% increase from last year – according to a report released today by IRENA at its 11th Council meeting. The report, Renewable Energy and Jobs – Annual Review 2016, also provides a global estimate of the number of jobs supported by large hydropower, with a conservative estimate of an additional 1.3 million direct jobs worldwide.
IRENA’s Director-General Adnan Z. Amin noted that this growth is significant given that it stands in contrast to trends across the broader energy sector; the total number of renewable energy jobs worldwide rose in 2015 while jobs in the broader energy sector fell. In the US for example, renewable energy jobs increased 6% while employment in oil and gas decreased 18%. Likewise in China, renewable energy employed 3.5 million people, while oil and gas employed 2.6 million.
“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.” – IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin
Countries with the most renewable energy jobs in 2015 included China, Brazil, the US, India, Japan and Germany. The solar photovoltaic (PV) sector remains the largest renewable energy employer worldwide with 2.8 million jobs (up from 2.5 at last count) with jobs in manufacturing, installation and operations & maintenance. Liquid biofuels was the second largest global employer with 1.7 million jobs, followed by wind power, which grew 5 per cent to reach 1.1 million global jobs.
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