RE 'supports 6.5 million jobs'

Renewable energy jobs surged to 6.5 million globally in 2013, a new study by the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena) reveals.

The Irena report, Renewable Energy and Jobs – Annual Review 2014, emphasises the important role renewables continue to play in creating employment and growth in the global economy.

The number demonstrates the substantial growth that the industry has undergone in just one year worldwide, expanding from 5.7 million in 2012, says Irena director-general Adnan Amin.

“With 6.5 million people directly or indirectly employed in renewable energy, the sector is proving that it is no longer a niche, it has become a significant employer worldwide,” adds Amin.

The growth is as a result of regional shifts in the renewables market, growing competition and advances in technology and manufacturing processes during 2013, says the report.

The agency says China saw a significant increase in annual installations and manufacturing of clean technology. It says that solar power installations rose five-fold between 2011 and 2013.

This meant China had the largest number of employees in the renewables industry, followed by Brazil, the US, India, Germany, Spain and Bangladesh.

The greatest numbers in renewables were employed by the solar industry, followed by biofuels, wind, biomass and biogas.

In the wind industry, China and Canada provided positives while the outlook for the US remains somewhat mixed because of political uncertainty.

Irena points out the offshore wind industry is still concentrated in Europe, particularly the UK and Germany.

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