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Renewable energy jobs climb despite COVID-19

The number of jobs in the renewable energy sector globally climbed to 12mn in 2020, up from 11.5mn in 2019, despite the impact of COVID-19, according to the latest annual review by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

The agency?s report, in partnership with the International Labour Organisation (ILO), confirmed that the pandemic had caused delays and supply chain disruptions, impacting jobs ?to a varying extent from country-to-country.? Solar and wind developments continued to spur employment, accounting for 4mn and 1.25mn jobs respectively. But there was a decline in biofuel-related jobs as demand for transport fell. Off-grid solar lighting sales also declined, but companies managed to limit job losses.

China led the way with a 39% share of renewable energy jobs globally in 2020, followed by Brazil, India, the US and members of the European Union. IRENA noted that Vietnam and Malaysia have boosted photovoltaic exports, while Indonesia and Colombia increased biofuels supply, and Mexico and the Russian Federation accounted for growing wind power. In sub-Saharan Africa, solar jobs are also expanding in countries such as Nigeria and South Africa.

?Renewable energy?s ability to create job and meet climate goals is beyond doubt,? said IRENA?s Director General Francesco La Camera. In the run-up to COP26, he emphasised that: ?governments must raise their ambition to reach net zero. The only way is to increase investments in a just and inclusive transition.?

IRENA and ILO are of the opinion that more jobs will be gained than lost through the energy transition. An ILO global sustainability scenario to 2030 estimates that 24?25mn new jobs will significantly surpass losses of 6?7mn jobs due to the move from hydrocarbon-based sectors.

News Item details

Journal title: Energy World

Region: Worldwide

Organisation: International Renewable Energy Agency

Subjects: Renewables Employment

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