According to the International Renewable Energy Agency, there were 11 million people employed in renewable energy worldwide in 2018. This compares with 10.3 million in 2017. So roughly three-quarters of a million new jobs were added last year. As more and more countries manufacture, trade and install renewable energy technologies, renewables jobs continue to reach new high levels.
The geographic footprint of renewable energy jobs is changing. Until now, renewable energy industries have remained relatively concentrated in a handful of major markets such as China, the US, and the European Union. But more recently, East and Southeast Asian countries have emerged alongside China as key exporters of solar technology. Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam were responsible for a greater share of growth in renewables last year. Overall, Asia has a 60% share of renewable energy jobs worldwide.
Beyond climate goals, low-carbon economic growth has become a driver for renewables technology. Renewables deliver on all the major elements of sustainable development: environmental, economic and social.
The solar photovoltaic industry continues to be the most dynamic renewable enterprise. It accounts for a third of the renewable energy workforce with more than three million jobs.
Biofuel jobs were up by 6% to over 2 million. Wind power supports 1.2 million jobs, with onshore projects predominant. But the offshore wind segment is gaining traction. Hydropower is still the largest installed capacity of all renewables but is now only expanding slowly. The hydropower sector employs 2.1 million people directly, three-quarters in operations and maintenance.
Photo, posted January 11, 2012, courtesy of the Oregon Department of Transportation via Flickr.