The tenth edition of IRENA’s Renewable energy and jobs: Annual review, produced in collaboration with the International Labour Organization (ILO), provides the latest estimates of renewable energy employment globally and an overview of the renewable energy employment landscape as of 2022. It discusses deployment trends and policy contexts in selected countries.
The report highlights growing interest in localising supply chains, driven not only by concerns about possible disruptions due to natural disasters, trade disputes or geopolitical rivalries but also by interest in boosting domestic value creation and jobs. Numerous countries are adopting industrial policy strategies to this end, while many resource-rich countries are taking steps to move beyond being suppliers of raw materials.
Renewable energy and other energy transition technologies are attracting growing investment; but even as spending rises and installations expand, new challenges emerge.
Climate change, technological advances, shifts in demographics and the global economic outlook, as well as other key developments may bring about adverse effects for employment. While each country rightfully aspires to derive socio-economic benefits from the energy transition, global solidarity is vital, as humanity confronts not only rising dangers from climate change but also deep social and economic divides.
The report emphasises that education and training programmes must be expanded to prevent the widening of skill gaps. Such measures must be paired with efforts to tap talent among under-represented groups including women, youth and minorities. It also notes that labour rights and social dialogue are indispensable for an energy transition that produces a truly just transition for all.
According to the report it is critical that new jobs provide adequate wages and high standards of occupational safety and health. Fundamental principles and rights at work must be upheld and workers’ voices heard. It is essential that communities whose livelihoods now depend on fossil fuels be offered a stake in the new energy system through retraining and economic revitalisation strategies, wherever feasible.
Achieving the energy transition in a manner consistent with climate stability requires much faster renewables’ deployment, in turn creating more jobs; but it also demands broader, systemic change, to make the economy more compatible with planetary limits.