Renewable energy industry supports more than 9 million jobs in 2014, according to new IRENA Report - News | RE100 Skip to main content

Renewable energy industry supports more than 9 million jobs in 2014, according to new IRENA Report - News

22 May 2015, 1:00 BST 2 min read

LONDONRenewable energy jobs reached 7.7 million in 2014, excluding large hydropower, a new report released this week from the International Renewable Energy Agency states.

In particular, the paper estimates large hydropower supported 1.5 million direct jobs – almost half of them in China, largely in construction and installation – bringing the total renewable jobs in the world to more than 9 million last year.

The report was launched the same day as The Climate Group released its ‘climate action barometer’ at Climate Week Paris, to measure business, sub-national government and international institutional leaders' confidence levels in delivering the low carbon economy. The barometer includes IRENA's latest figures, and aims to hold leaders to account and encourage them to boost low carbon economic growth and job creation.

IRENA's Renewable Energy and Jobs – Annual Review, in its second edition, indicates an 18% increase from the figures reported for 2013. The rise is again led by China, which employs two-thirds of the 2.5 million global solar photovoltaic (PV) jobs – making such technology the largest renewable energy employer.

Image: Renewable energy employment by technology, from the report Renewable Energy and Jobs – Annual Review. Courtesy of IRENA

Last year saw a boom year for solar energy thanks to lower costs of solar panels which boosted related jobs, with China adding 10.6 gigawatts (GW) of PV power capacity and accounting for 70% of the world’s solar PV production according to the National Energy Administration.

Because of this, solar PV is the biggest employer globally, representing 2.5 million jobs, with two-thirds in China.

Employment from wind power crossed the 1 million jobs milestone for the first time last year, up from 834,000 in 2013 – a 23% increase. Again, the clean revolution was led by China with more than 500,000 jobs, US (73,000 jobs, an increase of 43%) and Brazil. The latter two countries also dominate the biofuels and biomass sector, accounting for a global 1.8 million and 822,000 jobs respectively.

Image: Renewable energy employment in selected countries, from the report Renewable Energy and Jobs – Annual Review. Courtesy of IRENA

From a regional point of view, last year the top countries with the largest renewable energy employment were China,BrazilUSIndia and Germany. However, energy markets such as JapanBangladesh and Indonesia are gaining prominence.

“In the coming years, renewable energy employment growth will depend on the return to a strong investment trajectory,” the report indicates, “as well as on continued technological development and cost reductions. Stable and predictable policies will be essential to support job creation. Finally, in a year when negotiators in Paris aim to carve out a global climate agreement, the broader policy framework for energy investments will also move to the forefront.”