In 2017, employment of the global green-energy industry grew by 5.3% to over 10.3 million, reported the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) recently.
The report attributes the growth in the job openings to the robust demand for renewable energy in Asia. Employment at the PV power sector jumped by 9% to 3.4 million, the largest, in 2017, when PV power capacity increased by 94 GW worldwide.
China was the largest employer, accounting for 65% of total jobs in the field, with employment hitting 2.2 million, up 13%, followed by Japan and the U.S., whose employments both dropped slightly, and India and Bangladesh. The five nations accounted for 90% of PV power-related employment worldwide.
The report indicates that 70% of green energy-related jobs worldwide were located in China, Brazil, the U.S., India, Germany, and Japan, adding, though, equipment manufacturing has increasingly concentrated in a few countries.Adnan Z. Amin, IRENA chairman, remarked that benefits of renewable-energy industry, in the aspects of economy, society, and environment, are closely associated with attractiveness of a country's related policy.
Amin pointed out that figures in the report has added to the creditability of IRENA predicting that low-carbon energy trend will sustain global economic growth, with employment of the renewable-energy industry expected to hit 28 million worldwide by 2050.
In addition to PV power, other green energies have also created substantial job openings, with employment by biomass energy reaching 1.9 million in 2017, the second largest, 41% of which in Brazil, followed by hydraulic power with employment of 1.5 million, evenly distributed worldwide, 63% of which for operation and maintenance.
Wind power stood at fourth place, with employment of 1.15 million, down slightly from 2016. IRENA notes that that the wind power industry is less concentrated than PV power, with China accounting for 44% of the global employment in this field, followed by Europe with 30% and North America with 10%. Europe accounts for five of the top-10 list for wind-power capacity.
Rabia Ferroukhi, chief of IREANA's policy section, noted that provision by IRENA of detailed information on the employment and technology demands of renewable energy can help governments worldwide in the planning for education and training, industry policy, and labor laws/regulations in this field.
(Written by Daisy Chuang; First photo courtesy of IRENA)