Africa ac­counts for 0.6% jobs in global re­new­able en­ergy sec­tor

A new IRENA re­port shows the re­new­able en­ergy sec­tor em­ployed 9.8 mil­lion peo­ple world­wide in 2016.

Financial Nigeria Magazine - - Contents - FN

Anew re­port by the In­ter­na­tional Re­new­able En­ergy Agency (IRENA), an in­ter­gov­ern­men­tal or­ga­ni­za­tion that sup­ports coun­tries in their tran­si­tion to a sus­tain­able en­ergy fu­ture, has shown that the re­new­able en­ergy sec­tor em­ployed 9.8 mil­lion peo­ple world­wide in 2016. This is a 1.1% rise over 2015 em­ploy­ment fig­ure, ac­cord­ing to the re­port, which was re­leased today.

While the re­port finds that glob­ally, 62% of the jobs are lo­cated in Asia, Africa ac­counts for a pal­try 62,000 jobs (or 0.63% of the to­tal jobs), half of which are lo­cated in South Africa and one-fourth in North Africa.

The re­port, called Re­new­able En­ergy and Jobs – An­nual Re­view 2017, pro­vides the lat­est em­ploy­ment fig­ures of the re­new­able en­ergy sec­tor and in­sight into the fac­tors af­fect­ing the re­new­able labour mar­ket.

Ac­cord­ing to IRENA, China con­tin­ues to lead re­new­able en­ergy em­ploy­ment, with 3.64 mil­lion jobs in 2016, up 3.4% from the pre­vi­ous year. So­lar PV ac­counted for close to 1.96 mil­lion jobs, of which 1.3 mil­lion were in man­u­fac­tur­ing.

Brazil, the sec­ond re­new­able en­ergy labour mar­ket in the world, ac­counted for 1.1 mil­lion clean en­ergy jobs, with much of the em­ploy­ment found in liq­uid bio­fu­els. The United States, In­dia, Ja­pan and Bangladesh are ranked third, fourth, fifth and sixth in the global re­new­able en­ergy em­ploy­ment mar­ket. In­dia alone em­ployed 621,000 peo­ple in the re­new­able en­ergy sec­tor last year, ac­cord­ing to the IRENA re­port, which was pub­lished in part­ner­ship with the Clean En­ergy Busi­ness Coun­cil (CEBC) and Bloomberg New En­ergy Fi­nance (BNEF).

“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 five mil­lion peo­ple were work­ing in the sec­tor,” said IRENA Di­rec­tor-Gen­eral Ad­nan Z. Amin. “In the last four years, for in­stance, the num­ber of jobs in the so­lar and wind sec­tors com­bined has more than dou­bled.”

In terms of job op­por­tu­ni­ties in the dif­fer­ent seg­ments of the value chain, the re­port shows that so­lar pho­to­voltaic (PV) was the largest em­ployer last year, with 3.1 mil­lion jobs – up 12% from 2015 – mainly in China, the United States and In­dia.

Global wind em­ploy­ment reached 1.2 mil­lion jobs last year. Job op­por­tu­ni­ties in other seg­ments were large hy­dropower (1.5 mil­lion jobs), liq­uid bio­fu­els (1.7 mil­lion jobs), solid biomass (700,000) and bio­gas (300,000). Jobs in so­lar heat­ing and cool­ing de­clined 12% to 800,000.

“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,” Amin added.

De­spite the scarce jobs data in Africa, IRENA said sev­eral African coun­tries are mak­ing im­por­tant strides in util­ity-scale re­new­ables while im­por­tant de­vel­op­ments are tak­ing place in the off-grid sec­tor.

“In some African coun­tries, with the right re­sources and in­fra­struc­ture, we are see­ing jobs emerge in man­u­fac­tur­ing and in­stal­la­tion for util­ity-scale projects,” said Rabia Fer­roukhi, Head of IRENA's Pol­icy Unit and Deputy Di­rec­tor of Knowl­edge, Pol­icy and Fi­nance. “For much of the con­ti­nent how­ever, dis­trib­uted re­new­ables, like of­f­grid so­lar, are bring­ing en­ergy ac­cess and eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment. These off-grid min­i­grid so­lu­tions are giv­ing com­mu­ni­ties the chance to leap-frog tra­di­tional elec­tric­ity in­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ment and cre­ate new jobs in the process.”

The re­port also shows that gen­der dis­crim­i­na­tion in re­new­able en­ergy em­ploy­ment seems less pro­nounced than in the en­ergy sec­tor at large. How­ever, chal­lenges to em­ploy­ment and pro­mo­tion re­main

So­lar pan­els

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