14 Jun 2019, 13:10
Julian Wettengel

11 million people working in renewables worldwide in 2018; Germany largest workforce in EU


Eleven million people were employed in renewable energy worldwide in 2018, most in China (4.1 million), the European Union (1.2 million) and Brazil (1.1 million), writes the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) in its latest annual review. In Germany, about 291,000 people were employed in the renewable energy sector – about half in the wind industry – making it the largest renewables workforce in the EU. Overall in Europe, employment grew in liquid biofuels but declined in all other renewables industries. Germany, the UK and Denmark are among the global leaders in the wind power industry. Most data in the report is for 2017-2018, with dates varying by country and technology, including some instances where only earlier information is available.

From solar-panel cleaners to housing-insulation specialists and wind-turbine climbers, Germany's move to a low-carbon economy powered by renewable energy is shaping new businesses and the jobs market, but also disrupting entire industry sectors. After a boom in the early 2000s, Germany’s solar industry suffered a severe setback after 2010 as incentives were cut and competition from panel producers in China rose. However, falling costs also boosted investor interest in solar technology in Germany, leading eventually to a resurgence. In the wind sector, around 135,000 people were employed in jobs related to onshore wind power, more people  than ever before, accounting for nearly 40 percent of total employment in renewables. Employment in offshore wind-related jobs has also been steadily increasing, amid construction of offshore turbines in the North Sea and the Baltic Sea.

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