Global jobs in renewable energy could reach 24 million in 2030.
That’s well over double the 9.8 million jobs in renewable energy today, according to a new report by the International Renewable Energy Agency. The bullish projection comes even as job growth in renewables has slowed in the last couple years, to a mere 1.1 percent last year (or slightly higher when hydroelectric-power jobs are excluded). The 2030 projection assumes “an accelerated ramp up in deployment in line with global climate imperatives,” the report says.
The solar sector is responsible for more than one-third of current renewables employment, reports the annual Renewable Energy and Jobs review. So is China, which accounted for 3.6 million in 2017. Europe follows with 1.2 million, then Brazil with 876,000 jobs. The U.S. accounts for 777,000 renewable-energy sector jobs. Per capita, Brazil’s renewable employment wins, with about one of every 2,000 people employed in the renewables sector. In China and the U.S., it’s about one of every 4,000 people, and in Europe, one of every 10,000. In all, more than 60 percent of renewable jobs are in Asia. Thailand and Malaysia are emerging as secondary manufacturing and installation hubs to China.
And that’s just direct jobs. In emerging economies in particular, improved energy access fuels additional job creation through increased economic activity. Africa still represents the smallest share of renewable energy employment, but “off-grid and mini-grid solutions are giving communities the chance to leapfrog traditional electricity infrastructure development and create new jobs in the process,” says IRENA’s Rabia Ferroukhi.