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Global renewable energy jobs hit record 11 million

Increase comes as employment in new markets helps compensate for slower growth in traditional heartlands

Renewable energy jobs hit a record 11 million globally last year as employment growth in countries such as Malaysia and Vietnam compensated for slower expansion in traditional clean energy powerhouses like China and the EU, new figures show.

The 2018 global renewables jobs total – up from 10.3 million in 2017 – remains dominated by solar PV, which accounted for one third of all posts with 3.6 million employed, said the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena).

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With 1.2 million jobs, wind power was the fourth-largest renewables employer after liquid biofuels and hydropower, said Irena, which noted the potential of offshore wind to create new employment in sectors reliant on oil and gas.

Asia was the largest region for employment, with a 60% share. The growth of solar jobs in markets such as India and Southeast Asia helped offset more sluggish growth in established renewables markets such as China and the EU, said Irena’s Renewable Energy and Jobs Annual Review.

That reflects a changing and widening supply chain that as seen new countries add significant new jobs, for example in manufacturing PV modules for export.

Irena’s newly-installed director general Francesco La Camera said: “Renewables deliver on all main pillars of sustainable development – environmental, economic and social. As the global energy transformation gains momentum, this employment dimension ensures socio-economic sustainability and provides yet another reason for countries to commit to renewables.”

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