Renewable energy jobs on the rise

Growing demand for clean energy solutions has led to the creation and expansion of renewable energy jobs
Renewable energy jobs on the rise
Creating millions of jobs will require a much faster pace of investments in energy transition technologies

The renewable energy sector has experienced significant growth in job opportunities, with numbers nearly doubling over the past ten years. This surge in renewable energy jobs is a direct result of the increased focus on clean energy solutions and sustainable development worldwide.

Increase in worldwide renewable energy employment

According to a new report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the International Labour Organization (ILO), worldwide employment in the renewable energy sector reached 13.7 mn in 2022. This figure is an increase of one million since 2021 and has grown substantially from a total of 7.3 mn in 2012.

The growing demand for clean energy solutions has contributed to the creation and expansion of renewable energy jobs across the globe. The report reveals that China is the leading player in the renewable energy sector, accounting for 41 percent of the global job market. Specifically, it employs 5.5 mn workers in photovoltaics and wind power. 

On the other hand, Brazil has a large workforce of 1.4 mn people in the biofuels sector. This highlights the country’s rich agricultural resources and its decision to use them for energy production.

Moreover, European Union member states host 1.6 mn employees across various renewable sectors. Other countries are likewise making their contributions to this growing industry, including India and the United States.

Francesco La Camera, IRENA Director-General, observed that 2022 was another outstanding year for renewable energy jobs, amid multiplying challenges. In addition, creating many more millions of jobs will require a much faster pace of investments in energy transition technologies.

He further added that Group of Twenty (G20) leaders agreed to accelerate efforts to triple global renewables capacity by 2030 aligned with their recommendations ahead of COP28. Adding to that, he called on all policymakers to use this momentum as an opportunity to adopt ambitious policies that drive the needed systemic change.

Employment in different renewable energy sectors

The solar industry stands out, having a large share of the renewable energy workforce. As of 2022, the solar photovoltaics industry employed 4.9 mn people, while another 710,000 are in solar heating and cooling. The growth of this sector is due to the advancements in technology and decreasing costs over the years.

Although solar leads, other sectors like bioenergy, also have a significant workforce of 3.6 mn people. This variety allows the industry to use different renewable resources, adapting to each region’s needs and strengths.

Significantly, hydropower generates the most renewable energy globally. However, it has fewer employees than solar and bioenergy. Just like biofuels, the hydropower industry had similar employment figures, each hiring 2.5 mn individuals. Finally, the wind power sector also engaged 1.4 mn people, further enhancing job opportunities in renewable energy.

Read: World leaders urged: Triple renewable energy by 2030

High-paying renewable energy jobs

Solar Consultant

Average annual salary: $114,207

Solar Consultants are experts who analyze energy consumption and provide their clients with insightful details about their usage. Their role encompasses strategizing ways to minimize energy use, which might sometimes involve selling clients solar products.

Environmental Health and Safety Officer

Average annual salary: $98,587

Their key role is to implement health and safety plans focusing on wastewater, toxins, and hazardous materials. In addition, they perform regular inspections to ensure safe and hazard-free residential and commercial spaces.

Sustainability Engineer

Average annual salary: $97,181

Meanwhile, Sustainability Engineers design and develop systems meeting certain sustainability guidelines. They use different tools and mapping technology for creating models and collecting data. Also, collaborating with experts in other renewable energy jobs is often part of their work.

Environmental Specialist

Average Annual Salary: $89,179

Environmental Specialists evaluate the environmental impact of population behavior and devise plans to resolve or prevent the environmental issues identified. Notably, accomplishing this role demands advanced scientific and environmental knowledge along with strong observation and analytical skills.

Energy Engineer

Average Annual Salary: $86,670

Moving on, Energy Engineers design energy-efficient systems for buildings related to lighting, air conditioning, and air quality. Their work is commonly focused on the construction or remodelling stages of buildings to design and implement effective programs.

renewable energy jobs

Energy Manager

Average Annual Salary: $77,233

An Energy Manager is responsible for reducing an organization’s energy use. Additionally, they monitor usage patterns, interpret how energy consumption affects business operations, and develop and execute sustainable energy programs.

Air Quality Engineer

Average Annual Salary: $71,525

There is also the Air Quality Engineer who is tasked with developing and maintaining environments that provide high-quality air. In the renewable energy sector, they might work on designing efficient and natural air purification systems and often collaborate with other experts.

Final thoughts

The renewable energy sector’s incredible growth over the past decade demonstrates its potential for creating a more sustainable and equitable future. And as the demand for renewable energy jobs continues to increase, the industry is bound to see even more growth and prosperity in the years to come.

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