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Renewable energy industry – biggest employer in energy sector

Enabling policy frameworks continues to remain a key driver of employment in the renewable energy industry, says the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) report, ‘Renewable Energy and Jobs – Annual Review 2016’.

[quote]On Tuesday, the organisation released the report during its 11th meeting of council held in Abu Dhabi. According to the analysis, in 2015 the total number of renewable energy jobs rose globally, while jobs in the broader energy sector fell.

Renewable energy industry sees growth

The IRENA report further revealed that over 8.1 million people worldwide are now employed by the renewable energy industry, a 5% increase from last year. The solar photovoltaic (PV) sector is said to be the largest renewable energy employer globally with 2.8 million jobs, which went up from 2.5 at last count with jobs in manufacturing, installation and operations and maintenance.

Coming second was liquid biofuels having employed 1.7 million people, followed by wind power, which grew 5% to reach 1.1 million global jobs.

IRENA director-general Adnan Z. Amin commented: “The continued job growth in the renewable energy sector is significant because it stands in contrast to trends across the energy sector.”

Declining technology costs

“This increase is being driven by declining renewable energy technology costs and enabling policy frameworks. We expect this trend to continue as the business case for renewables strengthens and as countries move to achieve their climate targets agreed in Paris,” Amin added.

According to the study, national and state auctions in India and Brazil, tax credits in the US and favourable policies in Asia have all contributed to employment increases. Countries with the most renewable energy jobs in 2015 included China, Brazil, USA, India, Japan and Germany.

“IRENA’s research estimates that doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix by 2030, enough to meet global climate and development targets, would result in more than 24 million jobs worldwide,” Amin said.

Babalwa Bungane
Babalwa Bungane is the content producer for ESI Africa - Clarion Events Africa. Babalwa has been writing for the publication for over five years. She also contributes to sister publications; Smart Energy International and Power Engineering International. Babalwa is a social media enthusiast.