9.8 million people employed in renewable energy worldwide
A report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has found that over 9.8 million people were employed in the renewable energy sector in 2016, a 1.1% increase on the year before.
Excluding large hydropower, employment within renewables increased by 2.8% in 2016, with China, Brazil, the United States, India, Japan and Germany accounting for the majority of the 8.3 million jobs. Whilst growth is slower in comparison to previous years (2015 saw a 5% rise), the increase in worldwide employment within renewables contrasts with the challenges faced in the broader energy sector.
With 3.1 million jobs and an increase of 12% on 2015, solar photovoltaic power was the largest employer. With growth in installations in the United States, Germany, India and Brazil, wind power saw a record year for jobs, with global wind employment increasing by 7% to take the total number of jobs up to 1.1 million.
Job increases were also seen in liquid biofuels (up to 1.7 million jobs), solid biomass (0.7 million) and biogas (0.3 million).
Looking ahead to the future, the report predicts that although growth is likely to slow, employment within renewable energy will remain strong. IRENA estimates that doubling the share of renewables in the global energy mix would result in over 24 million worldwide jobs by 2030, providing it is supported by stable and predictable policy frameworks, investment in local industries and increased education and training.