Worldwide renewable energy jobs hit 13.7 million in 2022: ILO

Daily News Egypt
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Worldwide employment in renewable energy reached 13.7 million in 2022, an increase of one million since 2021 and up from a total of 7.3 million in 2012, according to a new report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the International Labour Organization (ILO). The tenth edition of the Renewable Energy and Jobs: Annual Review is the result of an ongoing collaboration between the two agencies.

The report reveals that renewable energy is attracting more investment, leading to job creation in a growing number of countries. However, as in previous years, the majority of jobs are concentrated in a few states, with China accounting for 41 percent of the global total. Brazil, European Union (EU) countries, India, and the United States of America (USA) are among the others, representing the majority of global capacity installations and playing key roles in manufacturing equipment, engineering, and associated services.

Solar photovoltaics (PV) remains the largest employer in 2022, with 4.9 million jobs, which is more than a third of the total workforce in the renewable energy sector. Hydropower and biofuels have similar job numbers as in 2021, with around 2.5 million each, followed by wind power with 1.4 million jobs.

Francesco La Camera, IRENA Director-General, noted that “2022 was another outstanding year for renewable energy jobs, despite numerous challenges. To create millions more jobs, we need to accelerate investments in energy transition technologies. The recent agreement by G20 leaders to triple global renewables capacity by 2030, in line with our recommendations before COP28, provides an opportunity for policymakers to adopt ambitious policies that drive the necessary systemic change.”

Gilbert F. Houngbo, ILO Director-General, stated, “To seize the significant opportunities for full, productive, and freely chosen employment, social inclusion, and decent work during these complex transitions, specific policies for inclusive macroeconomic growth, sustainable enterprises, skills development, and other labor market interventions are needed. We must also focus on social protection, occupational safety and health, and other labor rights, and find new solutions through social dialogue.”

The study emphasizes that the quality of jobs is as important as the quantity. To promote social justice, the transition to a cleaner energy future must be fair and inclusive for workers, enterprises, and communities. Coherent and integrated frameworks are crucial, with an emphasis on wages, occupational safety and health, and labor rights, based on effective social dialogue. The ILO’s Guidelines for a just transition towards environmentally sustainable economies and societiesserve as a central reference for policy-making and actions to support a just transition that governments and other stakeholders can rely on.

A just and inclusive energy transition should also focus on workforce development and diversity. The report highlights the need to expand education and training and increase career opportunities for youth, minorities, and marginalized groups. Greater gender equity is also essential, as jobs in renewables are currently unevenly distributed between men and women. Solar technology has the best gender balance compared to other sectors, with 40 percent of jobs held by women.

Many countries are increasingly interested in localizing supply chains and creating domestic jobs, with the support of appropriate industrial policies. This aligns with a growing desire to reduce energy supply insecurities. China has successfully implemented a wide range of these industrial policies for several years. More recently, the EU, India, Japan, South Africa, and the USA have announced initiatives to promote domestic manufacturing. However, countries will need to find ways to combine localization efforts with continued global cooperation in pursuit of an ambitious energy transition.

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