IRENA: Increase in Renewable Energy Employment Could Offset Fossil Fuel Job Losses
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The report, titled 'Renewable Energy and Jobs – Annual Review 2017,' was released at IRENA’s 13th Council meeting taking in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Overall, IRENA reports that jobs in renewables excluding large hydropower increased by 2.8%, to reach 8.3 million in 2016, with China, Brazil, the US, India, Japan and Germany accounting for most of the renewable energy jobs.

The report also points to the continued shift to Asia, with 62% of the global total located in the continent.

24 May 2017: The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has released a report that indicates that over 9.8 million people were employed in the renewable energy sector in 2016. IRENA projects that the number of people working in the renewables sector could reach 24 million by 2030, more than offsetting fossil-fuel job losses.

The report, titled ‘Renewable Energy and Jobs – Annual Review 2017,’ was released at IRENA’s 13th Council meeting taking place in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE). It presents the status of renewable energy employment in 2016 both by technology and in selected countries.

The energy type employing the largest number of people was solar photovoltaic (PV), with 3.1 million jobs, a 12% increase from 2015.

The report finds that the number of people employed in renewables around the world in 2016 increased by 1.1% over 2015. This development contributes to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 8 (decent work and economic growth), 7 (affordable and clean energy), in particular target 7.2 (By 2030, increase substantially the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix), and 13 (climate action).

The energy type employing the largest number of people was solar photovoltaic (PV), with 3.1 million jobs, a 12% increase from 2015. According to IRENA, the growth came mainly from China, the US and India, while jobs decreased in Japan and the EU.

The report provides the break down of the number of jobs in the other sectors, including: 1.2 million jobs for wind power; 1.7 million jobs for liquid biofuels; 0.7 million jobs for solid biomass; 0.3 million jobs for biogas; and 1.5 million jobs for large hydropower.

Overall, IRENA reports that jobs in renewables excluding large hydropower increased by 2.8%, to reach 8.3 million in 2016, with China, Brazil, the US, India, Japan and Germany accounting for most of the renewable energy jobs. The report also points to the continued shift to Asia, with 62% of the global total located in the continent.

The report further includes findings from a workplace survey in the Middle East and North Africa on barriers to women in clean energy labor markets, which was conducted by IRENA with the Clean Energy Business Council (CEBC) and Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF). The survey found that gender discrimination seems less pronounced in renewable energy employment than in the energy sector at large. However, IRENA points to remaining challenges for women in regard to employment and promotion. These findings are relevant to achieving SDG 5 (gender equality). [IRENA Press Release] [Publication: Renewable Energy and Jobs Annual Review 2017]

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