International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has updated its data, suggesting that there may now be as many as 6.5 million direct and indirect jobs in renewable energy, up from the 2.3m jobs estimated in 2008. However, this figure is partly down to better data collection.
In addition, the overall upward trend in renewable energy jobs has been accompanied by considerable turmoil in some industries, such as the solar photovoltaic (PV) sector, where intensified competition, massive overcapacities, and tumbling prices have caused a high degree of turbulence in the last two to three years as well as a boom in installations. Global PV employment is thought to have expanded from 1.4 million jobs in 2012 to as many as 2.3 million in 2013.
Moreover, countries that are home to half of the world’s population, including China, members of the European Union, Brazil, the United States, and India, account for the bulk of renewable energy employment: 5.8 million direct and indirect (supply chain) jobs out of 6.5 million worldwide.
There are more details in the Worldwatch Institute’s latest Vital Signs Online trend (www.worldwatch.org).