Jobs in renewables grow to almost 10 million

More than 9.8 million people were employed in the renewable energy sector in 2016, according to a new report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

The report titled ‘Renewable Energy and Jobs – Annual Review 2017’ provides the latest employment figures of the renewable energy sector and insight into the factors affecting the renewable labor market.

The review shows that global renewable-energy employment, excluding large hydropower, reached 8.3 million in 2016.

When accounting for direct employment in large hydropower, the total number of renewable energy jobs globally climbs to 9.8 million – a 1.1% increase over 2015, IRENA said.

The jobs in ocean energy sector reached 4,870 in 2016, which is an increase of almost 30% from 3,700 people that were employed in 2015.

Adnan Z. Amin, IRENA Director-General, said: “Renewables are directly supporting broader socio-economic objectives, with employment creation increasingly recognized as a central component of the global energy transition. As the scales continue to tip in favor of renewables, we expect that the number of people working in the renewables sector could reach 24 million by 2030, more than offsetting fossil-fuel job losses and becoming a major economic driver around the world.”

The report found that globally, 62% of the jobs are located in Asia.

China, Brazil, the United States, India, Japan and Germany accounted for most of the renewable-energy jobs. In China for example, 3.64 million people worked in renewables in 2016, a rise of 3.4%.

IRENA’s report shows that solar photovoltaic (PV) was the largest employer in 2016, with 3.1 million jobs, representing an increase of 12% from 2015 — mainly in China, the United States and India.

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