Eleven-million people were employed in renewable energy worldwide in 2018, International Renewable Energy Agency’s (Irena’s) ‘Renewable Energy and Jobs Annual Review 2019’ reveals.
This represents an increase on the 10.3-million people employed in the industry in 2017.
As more and more countries manufacture, trade and install renewable energy technologies, renewables jobs grew to their highest level despite slower growth in key renewable energy markets, including China, the report states.
Solar photovoltaic (PV) and wind remain the most dynamic of all renewable energy industries, Irena says.
Accounting for one-third of the total renewable energy workflow, solar PV retained the top spot in 2018, ahead of hydropower, liquid biofuels and wind power.
Geographically, Asia had three-million people employed in the solar PV industry – nearly nine-tenths of the global total.
In 2018, PV employment expanded in India, South East Asia and Brazil, while China, the US, Japan and the European Union lost jobs.
Meanwhile, most of the wind industry’s activity still occurs on land which is responsible for the bulk of the sector’s 1.2-million jobs. China alone accounts for 44% of global wind employment, followed by Germany and the US.
Offshore wind could be an especially attractive option for leveraging domestic capacity and exploiting synergies with the oil and gas industry, the report indicates.
Further, rising output pushed biofuel jobs up 6% to 2.1-million. Brazil, Colombia and South East Asia have labour-intensive supply chains where informal work is prominent, whereas operations in the US and the European Union are far more mechanised, the report highlights.
Hydropower employs 2.1-million people directly, three-quarters of whom are in operations and maintenance. The sector has the largest installed capacity of all renewables but is now expanding at a slower rate than other renewables.