Renewables

Employment rates on the rise worldwide

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According to the “Renewable Energy and Jobs. Annual Review 2019 of The International Renewable Energy Agency, Irena, even though in 2018 the growth of renewable GW installations has been slower on major markets, including China, the number of employees at global level has grown at the fastest pace ever, rising from 10.3 million in 2017 to 10.98 million in 2018.

These are some key points emerging from the survey:

–    Employment remains concentrated in a handful of countries, with China, Brazil, the United States, India and members of the European Union in the lead. Asian countries’ share remained at 60% of the global total.

–    Several factors — including national deployment and industrial policies, changes in the geographic footprint of supply chains and in trade patterns, and industry consolidation trends — shape how and where jobs are created.

–    Nonetheless, the increasingly diverse geographic footprint of energy-generation capacities and, to a lesser degree, assembly and manufacturing plants, has created jobs in a rising number of countries.

–    The solar PV industry retains the top spot, with a third of the total renewable energy workforce. In 2018, PV employment expanded in India, Southeast Asia and Brazil, while China, the United States, Japan and the European Union lost jobs.

–    Rising off-grid solar sales are translating into growing numbers of jobs in the context of expanding energy access and spurring economic activities in previously isolated communities.

–    Rising output pushed biofuel jobs up 6% to 2.1 million. Brazil, Colombia, and Southeast Asia have labour-intensive supply chains, whereas operations in the United States and the European Union are far more mechanised.

–    Employment in wind power supports 1.2 million jobs. Onshore projects predominate, but the offshore segment is gaining traction and could build on expertise and infrastructure in the offshore oil and gas sector.

–    Hydropower has the largest installed capacity of all renewables but is now expanding slowly. The sector employs 2.1 million people directly, three quarters of whom are in operations and maintenance

–    While the analysis suggests job growth in 2018, some of the increase reflects the continued improvement and refinement of methodologies that allows a rising share of employment to be captured in statistics.

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