The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) reports that the renewable energy sector employed about 6.5 million people in 2013, up from an estimated 5.7 million in 2012.
The findings appear in IRENA's second annual renewables employment report, titled ‘Renewable Energy and Jobs – Annual Review 2014.'
18 May 2014: The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) reports that the renewable energy sector employed about 6.5 million people in 2013, up from an estimated 5.7 million in 2012. The findings appear in IRENA’s second annual renewables employment report, titled ‘Renewable Energy and Jobs – Annual Review 2014.’
According to the report, the growth in renewable energy employment was due to regional shifts from developed to emerging countries, industry realignments, growing competition, advances in technologies and manufacturing processes, and impacts from austerity and policy uncertainty. It also cites significantly higher job estimates in China, attributable to growth in manufacturing and installation, as well as changes in methodologies used to estimate employment.
The publication provides information on renewable energy employment by technology and select countries. The seven largest employers were, in descending order, China, Brazil, the US, India, Germany, Spain and Bangladesh. China alone accounted for 1.58 million of the 2.27 million people employed in the solar photovoltaic (PV) sector, the largest of all renewable energy sectors. It also finds that wind and solar PV are the most dynamic renewable energy technologies, often experiencing substantial employment swings from year to year. In the time period of the report, jobs in solar PV installation and maintenance grew, mainly in China, while wind employment remained stable at around 0.8 million worldwide. In light of the these fluctuations, the report underscores that steady and predictable policies, combined with education and training, are needed to sustain growth in renewable energy employment.
The Agency reports that, with 1.45 million jobs, liquid biofuels represented the second largest employer by technology. An estimated 0.82 million of these jobs, many involving demanding physical labor, were in Brazil, which is the second-largest liquid biofuels producers. The US led biofuels production, but due to higher levels of mechanization, was the second-biggest biofuels employer, at 0.24 million jobs. Biogas, geothermal, small hydropower and concentrated solar power were the sectors with the lowest employment, totaling roughly 0.65 million jobs. IRENA presented the report at the Fifth Clean Energy Ministerial in Seoul, South Korea, on 12 May 2014. [Publication: Renewable Energy and Jobs – Annual Review 2014] [IISD RS Story on CEM5] [IISD RS Coverage of CEM5]