According to the International Renewable Energy Agency’s “Renewable Energy and Jobs – Annual Review 2017,” the industry supports 9.8 million jobs worldwide. The number seems small based on the breadth of an industry that is supposed to replace the bulk of traditional energy sources over time.
IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin said:
Falling costs and enabling policies have steadily driven up investment and employment in renewable energy worldwide since IRENA’s first annual assessment in 2012, when just over seven million people were working in the sector. In the last four years, for instance, the number of jobs in the solar and wind sectors combined has more than doubled.
Renewables are directly supporting broader socio-economic objectives, with employment creation increasingly recognised as a central component of the global energy transition. As the scales continue to tip in favour of renewables, we expect that the number of people working in the renewables sector could reach 24 million by 2030, more than offsetting fossil-fuel job losses and becoming a major economic driver around the world.
Wal-Mart employees over 2 million people worldwide, in contrast to the size of what is supposed to be an exploding alternative energy growth industry.
As would be expected, large countries account for the bulk of the jobs:
China, Brazil, the United States, India, Japan and Germany accounted for most of the renewable-energy jobs. In China for example, 3.64 million people worked in renewables in 2016, a rise of 3.4 per cent.
China, one of the world’s largest polluters, along with India, is notably absent despite its claims that clearer air is one of the government’s priorities.
Jobs in the industry are primarily in the solar, wind and biofuel businesses.