A new report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena) has shown that the workforce in the global renewable energy industry in 2013 grew by 14% to 6.5million. Such statistics show that the sector has become a force to reckon with when it comes to employment worldwide. This report however contradicts the situation in the UK with the statistics stagnating from the most recent government data.
The solar panel industry is the biggest employer in this sector with 2.27 million people a three times increase in the last two years according to Irena. Biofuels came in second with 1.45 million and wind power with 0.83 million. Brazil and the US are the new biggest renewable employers with 0.89 million and 0.63 million people respectively, both nations are huge biofuel producers.
According to Rabia Ferroukhi, lead author of the Irena report this has been made possible by the rising demand in solar panels installations that has been driving the increase in the workforce especially in China and Japan.
The perspective for solar in the UK is however uncertain with Leonie Greene, at the UK's Solar Trade Association adds that the government is responsible for the issue as it isn’t supportive enough when it comes to the non-domestic solar PV sector. Although solar energy is massively used in the UK, the government is not willing to meet solar farms halfway.
Greene adds that solar energy producers have been growing the jobs in the UK steadily with member companies employing new staff despite the government reaction or lack of it on the sector.
The statistics recently released by the UK government showed that the renewable energy sector of £128 billion employed close to a million people between 2011 and 2012 – which was more than the teaching sector- a growth of 4.8% which surpassed the whole economy by far.
This data also included other sectors like clean energy, waste, water and pollution although the number of people employed in the renewable energy sector was unchanged when compared to the previous year which had about 275,000 people.
According to Irena’s report, the Australian government dealt a blow at the solar energy sector by issuing subsidy cuts. 23,000 jobs in the renewable energy sector are expected to go down to 12,300 in 2014 compared to 2012.
The report also found that uncertainties related state policies especially in US, Europe and India will affect the wind sector although the blow will be eased by some good moves by China and Canada.
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