Renewable Energy and Jobs – Annual Review 2019
The widespread adoption of renewable energy technologies creates employment opportunities up and down the supply chain. Worldwide, the sector employed 11 million people at the end of 2018, according to this sixth edition of the Renewable Energy and Jobs series.
According to the report, more countries were manufacturing, trading and installing renewable energy technologies. While leading markets like China, the United States and the European Union hosted the greatest concentration of jobs in renewables, other Asian countries have emerged as exporters of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels, the report notes.
Solar PV remained the top employer among renewable energy technologies in 2018, accounting for a third of the sector’s workflow. Asia hosted over 3 million PV jobs, or nearly nine-tenths of the global total. Latin American countries also witnessed growth, in step with rising regional PV demand.
While China edged ahead of Europe in offshore wind investment in 2018, the US and North African markets have also begun converting oil and gas experience into offshore wind jobs. Off-grid renewables – along with expanding electricity access – have contributed to job creation across Africa and Asia.
Employment opportunities are a key consideration in planning for low-carbon economic growth. Many governments have prioritised renewable energy development, firstly to reduce emissions and meet international climate goals, but also in pursuit of broader socio-economic benefits.
The report highlights the following:
- The solar PV industry retains the top spot, with a third of the total renewable energy workforce. In 2018, PV employment expanded in India, Southeast Asia and Brazil, while China, the United States, Japan and the European Union lost jobs.
- Rising output pushed biofuel jobs up 6% to 2.1 million. Brazil, Colombia, and Southeast Asia have labour-intensive supply chains where informal work is prominent, whereas operations in the United States and the European Union are far more mechanised.
- Employment in wind power supports 1.2 million jobs. Onshore projects predominate, but the offshore segment is gaining traction and could build on expertise and infrastructure in the offshore oil and gas sector.
- Hydropower has the largest installed capacity of all renewables but is now expanding slowly. The sector employs 2.1 million people directly, three quarters of whom are in operations and maintenance.
Download the report below.