KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 24): Malaysia has been listed among nations that created employment in the renewable energy sphere in 2020.
In its Renewable Energy and Jobs: Annual Review 2021 report released recently, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) said renewable energy employment worldwide reached 12 million last year, up from 11.5 million in 2019.
It said China commanded a 39% share of renewable energy jobs worldwide in 2020, followed by Brazil, India, the US and members of the European Union.
It added that many other countries were also creating jobs in renewables.
Among them were: Vietnam and Malaysia as key solar photovoltaic (PV) exporters; Indonesia and Colombia, with large agricultural supply chains for biofuels; and Mexico and the Russian Federation, where wind power is growing. In Sub-Saharan Africa, solar jobs were expanding in diverse countries like Nigeria, Togo and South Africa.
The report also confirmed that Covid-19 caused delays and supply chain disruptions, with impact on jobs varying by country and end use, and among segments of the value chain.
It said while solar and wind jobs continued leading global employment growth in the renewable energy sector, accounting for a total of four million and 1.25 million jobs respectively, liquid biofuels employment decreased as demand for transport fuels fell.
Off-grid solar lighting sales suffered, but companies were able to limit job losses.
IRENA director-general Francesco La Camera said renewable energy’s ability to create jobs and meet climate goals is beyond doubt. "With the COP26 in front of us, governments must raise their ambition to reach net zero.
“The only path forward is to increase investments in a just and inclusive transition, reaping the full socio-economic benefits along the way,” he said.
Meanwhile, International Labour Organization (ILO) director-general Guy Ryder said the potential for renewable energy to generate decent work is a clear indication that there is no need to choose between environmental sustainability on the one hand and employment creation on the other.
"The two can go hand in hand," he said.
The report was released by IRENA in collaboration with the ILO, and co-facilitated by the US and South Africa.