M ore than 7.7 million people worldwide are now employed by the renewable energy industry, reads  a new report issued by IRENA, Renewable Energy and Jobs – Annual Review 2015. This is an 18 per cent increase from last year’s figure of 6.5 million. The report also provides a first-ever global estimate of the number of jobs supported by large hydropower, with a conservative estimate of an additional 1.5 million direct jobs worldwide.

The 10 countries with the largest renewable energy employment figures are China, Brazil, the United States, India, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, France, Bangladesh and Colombia. The solar PV industry is the largest renewable energy employer worldwide with 2.5 million jobs, followed by liquid biofuels with 1.8 million jobs, and wind power, which surpassed one million jobs for the first time this year. The employment increase spreads across the renewable energy spectrum with solar, wind, biofuels, biomass, biogas and small hydropower all seeing increases in employment.

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Key facts:

Renewable energy jobs reached an estimated 7.7 million in 2014, excluding large hydropower. Jobs in the sector increased 18% from the estimate reported last year and the regional shifts towards Asia continued, especially in manufacturing.
The top 10 countries with the largest renewable energy employment were
  1. China,
  2. Brazil,
  3. United States,
  4. India,
  5. Germany,
  6. Indonesia,
  7. Japan,
  8. France,
  9. Bangladesh,
  10. Colombia.
In 2014, the solar PV sector accounted for 2.5 million jobs, of which two-thirds were in China. Solar PV jobs also grew in Japan, while decreasing in the European Union.
Biofuels (1.8 million), biomass (822,000) and biogas (381,000) are also major employers, with jobs concentrated in the feedstock supply. While Brazil and the United States continued to dominate, Southeast Asia saw growth in biofuel jobs, reflecting measures to support production.
Wind employment crossed the 1 million mark, with China accounting for half of these jobs. The United States, Brazil and the European Union also saw gains.
Solar water heating and cooling employed 764,000 people, more than three-quarters of them in China. Other significant markets are India, Brazil and the European Union.
Small hydropower employed about 209,000 people, more than half in China, followed by the European Union, Brazil and India.
Large hydropower was estimated to support another 1.5 million direct jobs, mostly in China and largely in construction and installation.
An array of industrial and trade policies continues to shape employment, with stable and predictable policies favouring job creation.

 

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) is an intergovernmental organisation that supports countries in their transition to a sustainable energy future, and serves as the principal platform for international co-operation, a centre of excellence, and a repository of policy, technology, resource and financial knowledge on renewable energy. IRENA promotes the widespread adoption and sustainable use of all forms of renewable energy, including bioenergy, geothermal, hydropower, ocean, solar and wind
energy, in the pursuit of sustainable development, energy access, energy security and low-carbon economic growth and prosperity.
image013Raul Cazan

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