Jobs in the renewable energy sector reached 11.5 million globally last year, led by solar PV with some 3.8 million jobs, or a third of the total, International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) said today.
“Adopting renewables creates jobs and boosts local income in both developed and developing energy markets,” said IRENA’s Director-General Francesco La Camera.
Last year, 63 percent of all renewables jobs were recorded in Asia, confirming the region’s status as a market leader. Biofuels jobs followed closely behind solar PV, reaching 2.5 million.
Many of these jobs are in the agricultural supply chain, particularly in countries like Brazil, Colombia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand, with labour-intensive operations. Other large employers in the renewables sector are the hydropower and wind industries, with close to 2 million and 1.2 million jobs, respectively.
The seventh edition of Renewable Energy and Jobs – Annual Review shows that renewables jobs have shown more inclusion and a better gender balance than fossil fuels. The report highlights that women held 32 per cent of total renewables jobs, as opposed to 21 per cent in fossil fuels sectors.
Off-grid renewables are creating employment, led by solar technology. Decentralised renewable energy can also propel productive uses in rural areas. This job multiplier effect can be seen in farming and food processing, healthcare, communications, and local commerce.
IRENA’s recently-released Post-COVID Recovery Agenda found that a stimulus program could create up to 5.5 million more jobs over the next three years than a business-as-usual approach. 42 million renewables jobs are the agency’s Global Renewables Outlook projects for 2050.