The renewable energy industry has seen tremendous growth over the last decade. While the COVID-19 pandemic rocked the whole world and all industries across the board, including the renewables industry, the steady growth up until 2020 has continued since the end of the pandemic. With this growth came the opening of new job markets to support this growth and allow for the further expansion of the industry.
Data collected by The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) shows that the renewable energy sector employed 12 million people in 2020, with the solar energy sector leading in employment as of 2016, coming at an estimated 4 million jobs globally in 2020, while liquid biofuels come in second at 2.5 million.
New Local Jobs in Renewable Energy
Until recently the majority of jobs in the industry were focused on production, and were for the most part dominated by countries like China, Brazil and India, a good portion is also present in the European Union and the United States. But with more projects being established in new territories the need for locals that are experienced in each sector of the renewables industry has increased.
This is where new job markets have begun to open. In 2020 the U.S. alone had 838,400 renewable energy jobs, with more businesses and jobs being created each day. With this relatively new trend of utilizing renewables in urban environments has created local jobs that go beyond production, such as project management, sales, installation, maintenance, etc.
Projections for The Future
The projections from IRENA for the next several decades show promise, with 37.8 million jobs in the renewables industry by 2030, and 43.4 million jobs by 2050.
Additionally, new applications for technologies in renewable energy are being released at an exponential rate; in the solar energy industry alone the use of solar power has gone beyond independent power grids, creating products such as solar street lights, smart solar benches and bus shelters, etc. Having this in mind we can only expect more niche jobs to be created to cover things such as installation, maintenance, as well as innovation, to ensure that these technologies are being used to their full capacity.
The future offers promising trends, and with the climate crisis being where it is the transition to renewable energy may be the solution for both environmental and economic issues.