There is a vast and growing workforce associated with renewable energy. The meteoric growth of these clean sources of energy will only continue as we approach the deadline for an international climate agreement that is certain to limit greenhouse gas production. To meet targets that will be put forth in this agreement we will need to transition away from fossil fuels and ramp-up an already fast moving renewable energy sector.
According to a report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) the industry currently employs 5.7M people. Most of the jobs are in China, the EU, Brazil, US and India. Here is a quick summary of the number of jobs in each of the top three nations as well international forecasts for the future :
China is the world leader in renewable energy jobs and currently has 1.74M people working in the sector. This represents one in three renewable energy jobs around the world. Most of China’s renewable employment is in the solar.
Brazil ranks second and has 14% of all renewable jobs around the world. The nation currently employs 833K people in renewables out of which 804K are in biofuels and the remainder are mostly in wind.
The US ranks third with 620K people working in the sector.
The future for renewable energy jobs looks very promising. According to the IRENA report, with favorable policies bioenergy will add 9.7M jobs by 2030. Wind is expected to add 2.1M jobs and solar energy is expected to generate another 2M, all in the same period.
Overall renewable energy has the potential to add an additional 11M new jobs between now and 2030; so in fact employment in the renewable energy sector is expected to be around 16.7M positions in 2030.
To see the IRENA report click here.
© 2014, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.
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