Worldwide employment in renewable energy reached 12.7 million last year, a jump of 700,000 new jobs in one year, according to a new report.
“Renewable Energy and Jobs: Annual Review 2022” identifies domestic market size as a major factor influencing employment generation in renewables, along with labour and other costs. Solar energy was found to be the fastest-growing sector. In 2021 it provided 4.3 million jobs, more than a third of the current global workforce in renewable energy.
The new report was published by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) in collaboration with the International Labour Organisation (ILO), during the Global Clean Energy Action Forum in Pittsburgh, USA.
The report shows that an increasing number of countries are creating jobs in renewables.
Almost two-thirds of all these jobs are in Asia. China alone accounts for 42 per cent of the global total, followed by the EU and Brazil with ten per cent each, and the USA and India with seven per cent each.
The report highlights some notable regional and national developments. These include Southeast Asian countries becoming major solar photovoltaic (PV) manufacturing hubs and biofuel producers.
China is the pre-eminent manufacturer and installer of solar PV panels and is creating a growing number of jobs in offshore wind.
India added more than 10 Gigawatts of solar PV, generating many installation jobs, but remains heavily dependent on imported panels.
Europe now accounts for about 40 per cent of the world’s wind manufacturing output and is the most important exporter of wind power equipment; it is trying to reconstitute its solar PV manufacturing industry.
Africa’s role is still limited, but the report points out that there are growing job opportunities in decentralised renewables, especially in support of local commerce, agriculture, and other economic activities.