More than 8.1 million people are now working for the global renewable energy industry, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency.
A new report, Renewable Energy and Jobs — Annual Review 2016 (PDF), published Wednesday by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), revealed the new jobs figure of 8.1 million, a 5% increase from 2015, which does not include the approximate 1.3 million people currently employed by the large-hydropower sector.
These figures are important, not only as they show the continuing rise of the global renewable energy industry, but also as they contrast significantly with an overall decrease in jobs in the global energy sector at large. IRENA pointed to the US in its press release to highlight this contrast, which saw renewable energy jobs increase by 6% in 2015, while employment in oil and gas decreased by 18%.
“This increase is being driven by declining renewable energy technology costs and enabling policy frameworks,” said Adnan Z. Amin, IRENA Director-General. “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.”
The rise in renewable energy jobs was slow in comparison to other years. A year ago, IRENA revealed that there were 7.7 million renewable energy jobs worldwide in 2014, which itself was up 18% from 2013. China, Brazil, the US, India, Japan, and Germany all represented the countries with the largest renewable energy jobs in 2015. By technology, solar PV remains the world’s largest employer of renewable energy jobs with 2.8 million, up from 2.5 million at previous last count.
For the second year in a row, the IRENA jobs report has also conducted a survey of global employment in the large-hydropower sector. Information for the sector is hard to come by, but according to IRENA’s results, employment was approximately 1.3 million jobs in 2015, down 13% on 2014.