Explore how green energy creates jobs globally, the scope of gender equality, and its impacts on the economy.
The transition to green energy is often seen as an essential step toward mitigating climate change and promoting sustainability. However, it is not only beneficial to the environment but also to the economy in terms of creating jobs. Green energy refers to energy that is produced from renewable and sustainable sources such as wind, solar, hydropower, geothermal, and biomass. The green energy industry has been growing rapidly in recent years. According to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), renewable energy employed 12.7 million people globally now.
Growth in the Renewable energy job Sector
As per the Renewable Energy and Jobs: Annual Review 2022, which was conducted in conjunction with the International Labour Organization (ILO), more countries are generating employment opportunities in the renewable energy sector. The report suggests that this surge in jobs could result in over 38 million individuals being employed in the renewable energy industry by 2030 across the globe.
Solar Growing Fastest
Approximately 79% of the world’s jobs in the solar photovoltaic (PV) sector are based in Asian countries, with employment numbers increasing by roughly 300,000 to reach 4.3 million between 2020 and 2021. This growth in solar PV jobs is a result of the region’s prominence in manufacturing and its significant presence in installations. The major hub for solar photovoltaic (PV) manufacturing worldwide is located in China, mainly because of substantial government incentives and significant research and development endeavors. This has led to China being responsible for the vast majority of global solar PV manufacturing.
The number of jobs in this industry increased from 1.25 million in 2020 to 1.4 million in the following year worldwide. While Asia represented 57% of the overall global employment in this sector, China dominated with a share of 48%. IRENA’s report points out that Europe leads the way in offshore construction and technology innovation. Denmark and Germany, for instance, are the top two among four European countries that accounted for over three-quarters of global exports in 2020.
The sector employed roughly 2.3 million individuals worldwide in 2021, with around two-thirds of those jobs being in manufacturing. The global hydropower capacity increased by 25 GW in 2021, with China contributing 21 GW of it. Additionally, China and India together created over half of the jobs in the hydropower industry around the world.
Latin America is responsible for 44% of global employment in the biofuel industry, with Brazil being the largest employer in the liquid biofuel sector. Asia contributes 36% of the total jobs, with Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, and the Philippines employing a significant number of individuals in this field. In terms of biofuel output, ethanol constitutes the most significant share globally, followed by biodiesel and hydrotreated vegetable oil.
Green Jobs in India
With India’s announcement of achieving its target of 500 GW of non-fossil fuel energy sources by 2030, it has the potential to generate 3.4 million fresh job opportunities in the clean energy sector. India’s ambitious goals for renewable energy present a chance to achieve sustainable growth, employment opportunities, and ecological balance while transitioning to a low-carbon economy. The primary driver behind this progress is economic indicators, as businesses have come to recognize that sustainable development is crucial for long-term performance, success, and investment. Furthermore, the costs of solar and wind products have been reduced significantly, making them more accessible and affordable.
Making the future of work more inclusive and sustainable
According to IRENA’s analysis, the renewable energy sector has a more balanced gender distribution compared to the conventional energy industry, particularly in the solar photovoltaic area. Nevertheless, the report highlights that more work is necessary to increase women’s involvement at all levels.
ILO Director-General, Guy Ryder, states that the rising proportion of female employment indicates that focused policies and training could substantially boost women’s participation in renewable energy occupations. This, in turn, can promote inclusivity and facilitate a fair transition for all.
The growth of green energy can also benefit local economies. Renewable energy projects are often built in rural areas where land is available and renewable energy resources are abundant. These projects can provide a significant economic boost to these communities, creating new jobs and increasing tax revenues. For example, a wind farm in a rural area can provide local landowners with a new source of income from leasing land for the wind turbines. The wind farm can also create new jobs in the local community, such as construction workers and maintenance technicians.
The Bottom Line
The growth of green energy creates a wide range of jobs across the economy, from highly skilled engineers to entry-level manufacturing and service jobs. This diverse range of job opportunities makes green energy an attractive industry for job seekers of all levels of education and experience. Governments and businesses must prioritize investment in renewable energy to ensure continued growth and development in this sector. The benefits of green energy go far beyond job creation and have the potential to transform the way we live and work.
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