IRENAs Renewable Energy jobs REPORT

Yesterday at IRENA’s (International Renewable Energy Agency) 11th council meeting in Abu Dhabi, this year’s Renewable Energy Jobs Annual Review is released. This is only global analysis of jobs in renewable energy sector. It presents the status of renewable energy employment, both by technology and in selected countries, over the past year.

The council meeting, which kicked off on 24th May was chaired by the Council elected H.E. Kenred Dorsett, Minister of the Environment and Housing of the Bahamas and 96 countries participated in council meeting.

Yesterday on second day of the council meeting, 3rd edition of Renewable Energy Jobs report was launched and presented in front of council. As part of media, I attended the launch presentation and it was fascinating to witness high level government representatives from around the world interacting on renewable energy challenges.

IRENA 11th Meeting of Council

Rabia Ferroukhi, Lead author of this report and Deputy Director, knowledge policy and finance center presented the latest status of #REjobs in which a great finding of women’s share in renewable energy sector was revealed. In 90 renewable energy companies surveyed had workforce including 35% of women. Among them on average 32% of women hold management position and 28% are part of technical workforce.

Total 8.1 million people were directly or indirectly employed in renewable energy sector in 2015, which was increase of 5% than last year’s 7.7 million jobs. By technology Solar Photo voltaic has highest number of employment followed by Liquid bio-fuels. As oil prices went down in 2015, it created competition to bio-fuels. China was dominant solar PV employer due it’s undisputed lead in both manufacturing and installation.

Out of top 10 renewable energy job creating countries, 4 are from Asia; China, India, Japan and Bangladesh. Have a look at figure below showing employment by country or region.

Worldwide employment in nonrenewable energy sector is going down. In US oil and gas industry saw 18% drop this year.

Stand alone solar PV (solar lantern, solar home system) are providing employment opportunities in developing countries in rural areas. In 2015 Bangladesh added around 700,000 solar home systems. Which increased the employment by 13%. Though these kind of small scale renewable energy statistics are not included in the report.

Right after the launch presentation, country representatives presented challenges their nations face in renewable energy sector. Indian delegate Upendra Tripathy mentioned logistic losses of products required for renewable energy for example Solar PV manufactured in China. If India could manufacture these products locally, the cost will come down by 20-25% and renewable energy will be more affordable. India’s ongoing Make In India initiative reflected even at IRENA council meeting!

Where as Germany’s delegate, Maritin Schope raised the issue related to availability of experts in renewable energy sector. Prices of renewable energy coming down but there is not enough skilled workforce available.

Delegate from Algeria, Rachedi Menadi mentioned the challenge in creation of sustainable job opportunities. The employment numbers on renewable energy project goes down after design and construction as comparatively little manpower is required for running and maintaining renewable energy facilities.

Indonesian delegate Husin Bagis talked about their challenge in creating education and training required for renewable energy sector specially women in rural area.

IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin

IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin in a press meeting after the launch presentation discussed the way forward to address these challenges. He stated, ‘Employment in renewable energy is much faster than traditional energy sector’

He mentioned, the need of multi level strategy is needed to address challenges in training, education and skilled workforce. Where private sector from their experience can provide information to governments on creating required training nationwide. SME has huge scope in this regard, where people learn and implement the knowledge in small working enterprises.

Mr. Adnan Zamin, also explained how women in rural area are decision makers in houses as the men migrate to urban areas for employment. These women are shifting to off grid renewable for cooking and household energy demands. They are becoming entrepreneurial increasing employment in small scale renewable sector.

In UAE, with announcement of Dubai’s Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park and the upcoming Abu Dhabi 350-megawatt solar PV tender; as part of country’s renewable energy target of 30 per cent in its power generation mix by 2030, renewable energy job market is picking up.

If the country achieves its renewable energy plans, it can create up to 91,000 jobs by 2030, most of which will be in solar PV. Watch video to see what Rabia Ferroukhi says about Renewable Energy jobs in UAE.

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