renewable energy

Renewable energy sector, as sun and wind, employs more and more people and this is just the start.

According to a report by Allen & York, the 9.4 million includes 2.8 million in solar PV, 1.6 million in liquid biofuels and 1 million in wind, reflecting a “5% increase in 2015 and confirms the strength of this relatively new industry.”

When it comes to fossil fuels versus renewables, there’s no contest. Clean energy is our fastest path to a booming, prosperous economy for all of us. The next time you’re confronted with the White House’s alternative facts on coal, oil and job creation, arm yourselves with this info instead.

global pv demand
CREDIT: GTM Research

The report states that China, Brazil, the United States, India, Japan and Germany currently have the most renewable energy jobs.  Europe still has a strong renewables market, it says, despite the withdrawal of subsidies in the UK for new wind and solar developments.  Germany, Spain, the UK, France and Italy “lead the field in installed wind capacity across Europe”, and the solar marketplace has “grown by 15% of installed capacity in 2015”, prompting  SolarEurope to describe Europe as the most “solarized continent”.

The rapid rise of solar power is one of the most astonishing transformations in the history of global energy use.A decade ago, solar photovoltaics (PV) was just a tiny sapling, easily dismissed by fossil fuel advocates. Today, after a remarkable 30-fold increase in PV sales in just nine years, it has become a giant redwood forest.

  • The U.S. solar industry is on a record-breaking growth streak.

The U.S. renewable energy jobs market has also witnessed growth, with a 6 per cent increase in renewable energy employment in 2016, reaching a total of 769,000 people working across the industry – Allen & York said.

renewable energy wind
Source: Wikimedia

According to the non-partisan Solar Foundation, one in every 50 American jobs created in 2016 was in the solar industry.In total, the industry employs more than 260,000 people in the U.S., up 25 percent from 2015—when the number of U.S. solar jobs surpassed those in oil, gas and coal extraction for the first time. For the last few years, wind has trended ahead of fossil fuels but behind solar power in job growth—but that could soon change.

More than 100,000 Americans now work in the wind industry, which is adding jobs much more rapidly than the economy as a whole :  “We are hiring at a nine times faster rate than the average industry in the country,” Tom Kiernan, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), a trade group, said at a press conference for the release of the group’s Annual Market Report.

  • China, Europe, United Kingdom, Poland

China continues to lead the world in renewable employment, with more than with 3.5 million people in the sector.  Last year, China contributed to more than a third of the global renewable energy capacity and as the country’s solar boom continues, we hope to see a reduction in the chronic air pollution caused by its long dependency on coal.

Energy consumption by energy type. Image courtesy of EIA

However, after a long period of growth in UK wind and solar over the past 10 years, the last 2 years has seen a major slowdown in large-scale developments, due in the main to the change in government subsidies and a perceived saturation of the marketplace.  Nevertheless, these are well established and strong industries, and although new development has slowed, the existing wind and solar farms still require staffing and optimising to their full capacity.

Offshore wind has also undergone a period of reduced recruitment activity throughout last year, however the report anticipates an upturn in 2017/18 as the R3 developments across the UK coast come on-line. There are four offshore wind farms currently under construction, and a significant extension to the Burbo Bank farm off the North-West coast is underway.

  • Poland

A report issued last month by the International Energy Agency identified air pollution as “one of the largest environmental health risks” facing Poles. Watch Air Pollution levels now

Moreover, Poland which has a reputation as Europe’s most polluting country, still relying massively on coal power production and not supporting the development of renewable energies. In confirmation of this, renewable energy consultancy Ecofys recently published a report in which it clearly says that Poland will miss its 2020 renewable energy target. The soupy grey smog shrouding Polish cities this winter is one of the most visible symptoms of the EU member’s addiction to coal, a deadly habit forcing many to stay indoors or don masks before venturing out.

According to the report, the country will miss the target even under the most favorable scenario, which predicts it will cover 13.8% of its energy demand with renewables by 2020, and not 15% as planned by the Polish government in the National Renewable Energy Action Plan (NREAP). Under the worst-case scenario, however, Poland is expected to reach a percentage of only 10.0%.

Coal combustion remains the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions and local air pollution in Poland.  Many of its coal-fired power plants are old and inefficient: the replacement of these plants by plants with the newest technology represents an economic challenge for the sector, but at the same time offers an opportunity to reduce GHG emissions, air pollution and the carbon footprint from power generation. Coal use in household heating, together with waste burning, is a major source of local air pollution and “the government must ensure that less-well-off households are provided with the means to switch to cleaner solutions, such as natural gas or district heating where available,” said Dr Birol the IEA’s Executive Director, at the launch in Warsaw of Energy Policies of IEA Countries: Poland 2016 Review.

Poland is considering the construction of a nuclear power plant as a way of complying with EU regulations, while also keeping the coal plants vital for its industry. “The clean energy source would cut overall emissions and could help Poland persuade the bloc to let it use dirty coal units for longer,” Bloomberg writes. The step is important in light of the country’s upcoming negotiations with the EU over the latter’s “winter package.”

  • Coal jobs are simply not coming back—it’s time to focus on a just transition for coal country.

“The miners are coming back,” was Trump’s promise to coal country at a rally in Kentucky last month. The only problem is that it’s one more promise he can’t keep.

Because it’s not the Clean Power Plan—or any other environmental regulation—that’s causing the decline of the coal industry. It’s basic science and economics. Wind and solar are already cheaper and growing more affordable each year. Coal mining companies are going bankrupt left and right, shafting workers but giving CEOs million-dollar bonuses in the process. What coal mining operations are left are mostly automated and have been bleeding jobs for decades.

Instead of false promises, it’s time to start focusing on the just transition that coal country deserves. That means job training in clean energy technologies and more democratic control over electricity grids for the communities of color, Indigenous people and blue collar workers hit hardest by our prolonged reliance on fossil fuels.

8 thoughts on “Renewable energy sector, as sun and wind, employs more and more people and this is just the start.”

  1. Evidemment , les énergies renouvelables sont la seule solution d’avenir , mais il faut arriver à les maîtriser et les exploiter …
    De plus , la population mondiale augmente , ce qui n’arrange pas les choses …..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Merci pour votre commentaire Walter. Je vous souhaite une excellente fin d’après-midi.

      Liked by 1 person

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