Thursday, November 7, 2019

Renewable Energy is Driving the Green Jobs Boom

Clean energy offers many benefits not the least of which are jobs.  The number of good paying green jobs keeps growing and renewable energy jobs are the leading the way. Renewable energy technologies employ millions of people around the world. Over the last few years the renewable energy sector has grown by an average of almost a million jobs each year.

According to a 2019 International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) report there were 11 million jobs in renewables last year. In 2018 IRENA reported that there were almost 10 million renewable energy jobs in 2017. That is up from 8.3 million the year before. 

IRENA predicts there will be 24 million jobs in the clean energy space by 2030. According to a blueprint document from the National Energy Administration (NEA), China alone plans to create 13 million clean energy jobs by 2020. The Clean Jobs America report found nearly 3.3 million Americans working in clean energy.

Among the clean energy sectors, solar photovoltaic (PV) is the largest employer. According to the IRENA report, 60 per cent of all renewable energy jobs are based in Asia, the most renewable energy jobs are in Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. The primary markets are in China, Brazil, the U.S., India and the EU. However, in 2018 renewable energy jobs declined in the U.S., Japan and the EU.

The wind industry is dominated by China and followed by Germany and the U.S. According to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) jobs in the U.S. wind energy sector grew nine times faster than the overall economy last year. 

An October 2019, Palgrave Communications article published in the Journal Nature, indicates that the US green economy (including renewables) generated nearly 9.5 million jobs (4 percent of the working age population). According to a report from climate think tank Clean Energy Canada, a patchwork of provincial initiatives has driven up employment in the clean energy sector by 37 percent in the last five years.

“The prospect of job creation bolsters the global Sustainable Development Agenda, and should encourage all countries to make bold commitments to renewable energy,”  said IRENA Director-General, Francesco La Camera.

The 2019 IRENA report also emphasized the importance of government policies to help drive renewable energy forward.

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