IRENA: Renewable Energy Employs 7.7 Million People Worldwide

19 May 2015: The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has released a report stating that the renewable energy industry employs more than 7.7 million people worldwide, an 18% increase from 6.5 million in 2014.

The report, titled ‘Renewable Energy and Jobs – Annual Review 2015,’ also provides, for the first time, a global estimate of jobs supported by large hydropower.

IRENA Director-General Adnan Amin said renewable energy is “a major global employer” generating strong economic and social benefits, and that the increase is being driven, in part, by declining renewable energy technology costs. He said the increase is expected to continue as the business case for renewable energy becomes stronger. Amin noted that IRENA’s research estimates that doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix by 2030 will result in more than 16 million jobs worldwide.

Kandeh Yumkella, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) Initiative, underscored the importance of the findings at the Second SE4ALL Forum being held 18-21 May 2015 in New York City, US.

The report finds that renewable energy employment is impacted by regional shifts, industry realignments, growing competition, and advances in technologies and manufacturing processes. Employment in the sector is increasingly in Asia, with five of the 10 countries with the most renewable energy jobs, namely: China, India, Indonesia, Japan and Bangladesh. The EU and the US currently represent 25% of global renewable energy jobs, compared to 31% in 2012. The 10 countries with the largest renewable energy employment figures are: China, Brazil, the US, India, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, France, Bangladesh and Colombia.

The largest renewable energy employers worldwide are the solar PV industry with 2.5 million jobs, liquid biofuels with 1.8 million jobs, and wind power, which passed the one million job mark for the first time. Solar, wind, biofuels, biomass, biogas and small hydropower have all seen employment increases, according to the report.

Other findings include: France leads Europe in biomass, ground source heat pumps and biofuels employment; China is the world’s largest overall renewable energy employer with 3.4 million jobs; Brazil is the leading employer in biofuels with 845,000 jobs; total solar employment in the US increased 22% from 142,700 to 173,800, with employment of women increasing from 26,700 to 37,500; and Germany is the leading renewable energy employer in Europe with 371,400 jobs. [IRENA Press Release] [Publication: Renewable Energy and Jobs – Annual Review 2015] More