The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) based in Dubai has just released a report that says jobs in the solar and renewable energy sectors are increasing faster than employment opportunities in fossil fuel industry for the first time. It says 8.1 million people worldwide had jobs in the clean energy in 2015, up from 7.7 million in 2014, according to Bloomberg.
“The continued job growth in the renewable energy sector is significant because it stands in contrast to trends across the energy sector,” said Adnan Amin, director general of IRENA. “This increase is being driven by declining renewable energy technology costs and enabling policy frameworks. We expect this to continue as the case for renewables strengthens and countries move to achieve climate targets.”
The group projects the workforce in clean energy will grow to 24 million by 2030 if United Nations targets are met on climate change and development.
Since 2012, the number of US solar jobs has increased by 75% to 210,000. Oil and gas extraction remained flat and coal mining jobs have decreased. The loss of jobs in the oil and gas industries has been driven by the steep drop in prices for those fuels. Government incentives have helped job creation in the solar industry.
China leads all other nations in creating new jobs in the clean energy sector. It added 65 gigawatts of renewable energy capacity last year. It now employs 35% more people in its clean energy industry than in oil and gas. Other countries in Asia and Brazil are also boosting green energy employment. Most of those jobs in Brazil are concentrated in the biofuel industry. The clean energy sector’s global workforce is projected to jump to 24 million by 2030 from about 8.1 million last year.
The conventional wisdom among US political leaders is that renewable energy will destroy the US economy, throwing millions out of work and crashing the economy. They are spouting the same arguments once used to defend whaling and the Conestoga wagon industry from new technologies. Renewable energy will replace fossil fuels entirely in the foreseeable future and will bring millions of new job opportunities with it.
Source: AutoBlog Graphic credit: Bloomberg