Renewable energy employment expands in 2020 despite pandemic
Solar installation. Source: Maxeon Solar Technologies Ltd
October 22 (Renewables Now) - The total number of renewable energy jobs around the globe reached 12 million in 2020, rising from 11.5 million in 2019, and the expectation is that more jobs will be created by the energy transition than lost.
According to the eight edition of the Renewable Energy and Jobs: Annual Review 2021 by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), prepared together with the International Labour Organization (ILO), COVID-19’s impact on jobs varied by country, segment and end use. While solar and wind added jobs, accounting for 4 million and 1.25 million, respectively, liquid biofuels employment was hit by a drop in transport fuels demand.
China accounted for 39% of jobs in the renewable energy industry last year. Brazil, India, the US and the European Union rounded out the top five. The authors of the report highlighted that the sector provides employment in solar manufacturing in Vietnam and Malaysia, in biofuels in Indonesia and Colombia, in wind in Mexico and Russia, and in solar in countries like Nigeria, Togo and South Africa in Sub-Saharan Africa.
“The potential for renewable energies to generate decent work is a clear indication that we do not have to choose between environmental sustainability on the one hand, and employment creation on the other. The two can go hand-in-hand,” said Guy Ryder, ILO Director-General.
A global sustainability scenario to 2030 by ILO projects that 24-25 million of new jobs created by the energy transition will far surpass the 6-7 million jobs lost as part of the process.
According to IRENA’s World Energy Transition Outlook, the renewable energy sector could be providing employment to 43 million by 2050.