(AFP) – The renewable energy sector employed 9.8 million people worldwide in 2016, marking a sharp increase from 2012, the Abu Dhabi-based International Renewable Energy Agency said on Wednesday.
In its “Renewable Energy and Jobs – Annual Review 2017”, IRENA says the sector employed seven million people five years ago.
“Falling costs and enabling policies have steadily driven up investment and employment in renewable energy worldwide since IRENA’s first annual assessment in 2012, when just over seven million people were working in the sector,” its director general Adnan Z. Amin said.
“In the last four years, for instance, the number of jobs in the solar and wind sectors combined has more than doubled.”
The review said that last year, the number of people employed in the sector, “excluding large hydropower, reached 8.3 million”.
If large hydropower projects are included, the total number of global renewable-energy jobs climbs to 9.8 million.
According to IRENA, the highest number of renewable energy jobs are in Brazil, China, Germany, India, Japan and the United States.
Last year 3.46 million people worked in the sector in China alone, it said, a rise of 3.4 percent.
It also noted that 62 percent of sector employees worldwide were in Asia where renewable energy projects were on the rise, especially in Malaysia and Thailand.
The latter, for example, has become a world leader in the manufacture of solar photovoltaic systems.
“We expect that the number of people working in the renewables sector could reach 24 million by 2030, more than offsetting fossil-fuel job losses and becoming a major economic driver around the world,” Amin added.