Image credit: Stock

Accelerated uptake of renewables, including hydropower, could boost total energy jobs to 100 million by 2050, and jobs in renewables alone could reach 42 million by 2050, according to a new report from the International Renewable Energy Agency.

Measuring the Socio-economics of Transition: Focus on Jobs states that Asia could account for 64 per cent of jobs in renewables by 2050, the Americas 15 per cent and Europe 10 per cent. The report also says that “coherent policy-making, adjusted for the economic and social context of each region, can deliver on climate and energy goals effectively and fairly.”

While you’re here
Two British energy firms trial heat-as-a-service to drive net-zero
Wind plus storage critical for renewable energy transition

As of 2018, there were about 11 million jobs in renewable energy, IRENA says, with the most rapid expansion occurring in the solar photovoltaic industry (3.6 million jobs). The solar workforce is expected to expand by 63 per cent by 2050, employing nearly 19 million people. The second-largest renewable industry by employment in 2050 is expected to be bioenergy, at 14 million. Jobs in hydropower will undergo “comparatively moderate growth” of 7 per cent, the report says, employing less than 3 million people by 2050.

IRENA explored two energy scenarios:

Current plans, which is based on governments’ current energy plans and other planned targets and policies

Energy transition, which entails a large-scale shift to renewable energy, electrification and ramped-up energy efficiency in the period to 2050. In this pathway, the share of renewables in the power sector increases from 25 per cent today to 86 per cent in 2050.

The energy transition is anticipated to generate 7 million jobs economy-wide, 13 million in the energy sector and 16,000,000 in the renewable energy sector by 2050.

In terms of geographic regions, renewable energy jobs are expected to grow in all areas, with the top five consisting of east Asia leading the way at 36 per cent growth, followed by southeast Asia at 16 per cent, rest of Asia at 12 per cent, Latin America at 8 per cent and North America at 7 per cent.

The report drills down further by providing selected economic, regional and country analyses.

Originally published on