UN: Renewable energy jobs rose to nearly 13 million last year

UN: Renewable energy jobs rose to nearly 13 million last year
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KUALA LUMPUR (Sept 23): Worldwide employment in the renewable energy sector reached 12.7 million last year, a jump of 700,000 new jobs in just 12 months.

In a statement on its website on Thursday (Sept 22), the United Nations (UN) said this was despite the lingering effects of Covid-19 and the growing energy crisis, citing a new report titled “Renewable Energy and Jobs: Annual Review 2022” published by the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena) in collaboration with the UN’s International Labour Organization (ILO).

The UN said solar energy was found to be the fastest-growing sector.

The agency said that in 2021, the sector provided 4.3 million jobs, more than a third of the current global workforce in renewable energy.

It said that with rising concerns about climate change, Covid-19 recovery and supply chain disruption, countries are turning inwards to boost job creation at home, focusing on local supply chains.

The report described how strong domestic markets are key to anchoring a drive towards clean energy industrialisation.

Developing renewable technology export capabilities is also dependent on this, it added.

ILO director-general Guy Ryder said: “Beyond the numbers, there is a growing focus on the quality of jobs and the condition of work in renewable energy to ensure decent and productive employment.

“The increasing share of female employment suggests that dedicated policies and training can significantly enhance the participation of women in renewable energy occupations, inclusion and, ultimately, achieve a just transition for all,” he said.

Meanwhile, Irena director-general Francesco La Camera said that in the face of numerous challenges, “renewable energy jobs remain resilient, and have been proven to be a reliable job creation engine".

“Spurring a domestic value chain will not only create business opportunities and new jobs for people and local communities, it also bolsters supply chain reliability and contributes to higher energy security overall,” he said.

The report showed that an increasing number of countries are creating jobs in the renewables sector, with almost two-thirds of them in Asia.

China alone accounts for 42% of the global total, according to the report, followed by the European Union and Brazil with 10% each, and the US and India with 7% each.

Regional trends

The report said Southeast Asian countries are becoming major solar photovoltaic (PV) manufacturing hubs and biofuel producers, while China is the pre-eminent manufacturer and installer of solar PV panels, and is creating a growing number of jobs in offshore wind.

India added more than 10 gigawatts of solar PV, generating many installation jobs, but remains heavily dependent on imported panels, the report noted.

Europe now accounts for about 40% of the world’s wind manufacturing output, and is the most important exporter of wind power equipment, as it tries to reconstitute its solar PV manufacturing industry.