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GSR 2015

36 01 GLOBAL OVERVIEW SIDEBAR 3. JOBS IN RENEWABLE ENERGY Renewable energy employment continues to be shaped by an array of industrial and trade policies, industry realignments, and technology developments, as well as an ongoing regional shift from Europe and North America to China and other Asian nations. According to IRENAi , in 2014 an estimated 7.7 million people worked directly or indirectly in the sector, with an additional 1.5 million in large-scale hydropower (p See Table 1.) Solar PV is the largest employer, with 2.5 million jobs, most of which are concentrated in China due to its undisputed lead in manufacturing as well as a rapidly expanding domestic market. Japan, the United States, and Bangladesh have also boosted their solar PV employment. Jobs in the European PV industry have decreased by 35%, falling to 165,000 in 2013. Liquid biofuels remains the second largest employer, with close to 1.8 million jobs. Brazil has the highest number of biofuels- related jobs, followed by the United States. Other important players, due to labour-intensive operations, include Indonesia, China, Colombia, and Thailand. Global wind power employment crossed the 1 million jobs threshold in 2014. Growth has been especially strong in China and the United States, with Brazil and the European Union experiencing moderate increases. Data for the remaining renewable energy technologies are sparse. In the solar heating sector, China accounts for the bulk of the estimated 764,000 jobs. Smaller, but noteworthy, employers include India, the United States, and Brazil. In 2015, IRENA carried out the first-ever global estimate of employment in large-scale hydropowerii , showing approximately 1.5 million direct jobs in the sector. The major employers in 2013 were China, Brazil, India, and Russia. Most jobs are found in construction and manufacturing, followed by operations and maintenance. Renewable energy employment has been growing in off-grid sectors. The experience of Bangladesh illustrates the strong potential for solar PV to extend energy access and employment to rural areas in developing countries. Installations of solar home systems in the country had risen to 3.8 million units as of early 2015, and employment had expanded to an estimated 115,000 jobs, principally in sales, installations, and maintenance. China has firmed up its position as the leading renewable energy employer, with 3.4 million jobs. It has a commanding position in solar PV, solar water heating, wind power, small hydro, and biogas. In Europe, employment in renewables has declined for three years in a row, reflecting a decrease in overall investment resulting from adverse policy conditions. The total of 1.2 million jobs in 2013 (the most recent year available) was down 4% from the previous year; pronounced solar PV job losses were not offset by smaller gains in biomass (heat and power) and wind power. Germany had by far the highest level of employment in 2013, followed by France, the United Kingdom, Spain, and Italy. The United States saw strong jobs growth in 2014 in the solar industries (up 22% since 2013) and in the ethanol industry (up 34%). Biodiesel employment declined slightly along with falling production. Wind manufacturers recovered from the downturn in 2013, and new wind installations helped increase total wind- related employment by 45% in 2014. Brazil’s employment profile continues to be dominated by bioenergy. Although mechanisation is shrinking the sugarcane harvesting workforce, the trend is more than offset by the expanding biodiesel sector. The number of people employed in wind power and solar water heating is also on the rise. India has ambitious solar PV installation goals, but its manufacturers have faltered in the face of cheap imports; in 2014, only about a quarter of India’s 2.3 GW module production capacity was operational. The solar water heater industry also has faced strong competition from Chinese imports. A number of Asian countries have fared well in their solar PV development. Driven by strong growth in installations, solar PV jobs in Japan more than doubled in 2013. Malaysia has attracted a range of solar PV manufacturers with a favourable investment environment, employing 18,000 people in 2014. For South Korea, a 2013 figure of 7,500 solar PV jobs in manufacturing is the latest available estimate. i - This sidebar is drawn from IRENA, Renewable Energy and Jobs – Annual Review 2015 (Abu Dhabi: May 2015), www.irena.org/publications/rejobs-annual-re- view-2015.pdf. Data are principally for 2013–2014, with years varying by country and technology, including some instances where only dated information is available. IRENA’s 2013 estimate of 6.5 million jobs (excluding large-scale hydropower) was updated to 6.9 million following a revision by the China National Renewable Energy Centre for solar water heating employment in China. ii - Definitions for large-scale hydropower vary across countries. Large hydropower was not included in previous editions of IRENA’s Annual Review and of this sidebar due to lack of data.

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