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Women on the move – into employment in renewable energy

flag-UKAn increasing female presence in Renewable energy By Sarah Brooks Linked In 12 Jan 15 The energy sector has always been regarded as male dominated. As of 2013, females contributed to just 21% of the workforce for traditional energy sources such as oil, gas and petroleum. However in the renewables sector females appear to be getting ahead. In Scotland alone 28% of the employees of the renewable energy industry were female.

As the renewable industry is considered to be a relatively new source of energy and is still continuously undergoing development and investment, it opens up opportunities for females who would not normally be given a chance to work in the energy sector. Scotland are leading in the renewable sector in the UK, in 2012 almost 30% of electricity generated came from renewable sources compared to just 8% in England and Wales.

women-renewable-energy

If the rest of the UK continue to develop similar to Scotland the number of careers for women within the sector will only increase. Although females are beginning to enter the energy workforce, it is questioned whether these are still mainly in sales and business based roles rather than technical. As of 2010, only 6% of the engineering workforce in the UK were female. Granting this, in 2013 16% of the graduates in engineering degrees were female, which was a small improvement from years prior.

This slight growth over the recent years can be shown through the fact in 2013 50% of the females employed by engineering industries were aged 25-30 years old. This is indication there will be a gradual influx of a younger generation of females into technical roles within the renewable sector as engineers begin to graduate and build their careers within the industry. Initiatives are in place to help encourage and support females to pursue engineering and technical roles. A survey carried out by Atkins in 2013 on females in engineering careers found over 50% of the sample felt they were put off at school for pursuing engineering as it being portrayed as ‘too difficult’ and ‘male dominated’………

Despite the renewable energy industry still being largely dominated by males, there is still huge opportunity for females to get on board not only in business support roles but technical too. With females being gradually encouraged to pursue an engineering career we can expect to see a gradual influx of women in the renewable workforce over the next few years…….https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/increasing-female-presence-renewable-energy-sarah-brooks

January 14, 2015 Posted by | employment, renewable, UK | Leave a comment

Only in renewable energy are jobs growing: in the power sector – job losses, especially in nuclear power

green-collarEmployment Drops in All Segments of the Power Sector—Except Renewables , Greentech Solar Jobs in solar power generation have increased by 201 percent since 2011. Julia Pyper December 24, 2014

The electric power sector lost more than 5,800 jobs over the last three years, with employment is taking a hit in nearly all energy sources except for renewables, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Non-hydro renewable electricity generation gained nearly 1,800 jobs over the period, largely in the solar sector.

Data compiled from the Bureau of Labor Statistics only reflects the jobs in electric power generation, and not the jobs associated with managing the grid. Jobs related to the construction of new facilities, processing or transportation of fuels, or behind-the-meter distributed generation installations and service were also excluded from the number set………….

recent coal plant closures caused a net decline of 1,750 fossil fuel power generation jobs since 2011. According to the EIA, the new natural gas plants are less labor-intensive than the older coal plants they’re replacing.

The nuclear industry, however, was the hardest hit. Jobs at nuclear power plants fell by 9 percent, which amounts to 4,900 positions, over the last three years.

The downward trend is on track to continue. Several U.S. nuclear power plants are slated for closure in the coming years and there are next to no plans to replace them. The International Energy Agency, a leading Washington think tank and group of conservation scientists recently made separate appeals for the U.S. to rethink its nuclear energy strategy.

Julia Pyper

Julia Pyper is a Senior Writer at Greentech Media covering utilities, grid issues, electric vehicles, the solar industry and energy storage. Find her on Twitter @JMPyper.  http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/employment-drops-in-all-segments-of-the-power-sector-except-renewables

December 26, 2014 Posted by | employment, USA | Leave a comment

Underage student employed for Fukushima radiation cleanup work

Tochigi firm warned for hiring high school student for decontamination work, Mainichi 25 Dec 14 NASU, Tochigi -- A construction company hired a high school student for work to decontaminate houses tainted with radiation from the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the Mainichi Shimbun has learned.

The Nasu Municipal Government revealed on Dec. 25 that a construction firm in the town employed a male high school student from outside the town as a part-timer for decontamination work in possible violation of the Labor Standard Act. The law prohibits engaging those under 18 for work that exposes individuals to harmful radiation. The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare has ruled that the legal ban applies to decontamination work.

The municipal government gave a verbal warning to the president of the construction company, while reporting the incident to a local labor standards inspection office in November.

According to town officials, the company hired a second-year high school student in August last year…….http://mainichi.jp/english/english/newsselect/news/20141225p2a00m0na002000c.html

December 26, 2014 Posted by | employment, Japan | Leave a comment

TEPCO’s secrecy on worker injuries at Fukushima

TEPCO Not Disclosing Worker Injuries At Fukushima Daiichi SimplyInfo  December 25th, 2014

Journalist Ryuichi Kino has documents a large number of injuries to workers in 2014 that TEPCO has not made public. The information was submitted to the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy. TEPCO’s excuse seemed to be, if the workers didn’t require an outside ambulance ride or helicopter, they were not going to disclose the injury. But some of these injuries were quite serious. Eighteen required repair of broken bones or sutures. There were also 32 cases of heat stroke, this can be quite serious and was the cause or contributor to the death of a number of workers in the first year of the disaster……..http://www.fukuleaks.org/web/?p=14246

December 26, 2014 Posted by | employment, Japan | 1 Comment

Japan’s Fukushima Plant Cleanup Workers -their harsh and dangerous life

Fukushima-inspectionJapanese Nation Forgetting Fukushima Plant Cleanup Workers http://sputniknews.com/asia/20141210/1015704138.html As snap elections are nearing, the Fukushima Nuclear power plant workers are urging people to understand the harsh circumstances they work under, risking their life by exposing themselves to radiation every single day. MOSCOW, December 10 (Sputnik) – As elections are nearing in Japan, many of the people working toward the decommissioning of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant say they want voters to know about their harsh working conditions, insufficient pay and worries of radiation exposure, reports The Japan Times.

There are around 6,000 people a day working in the decommissioning process at the plant and it is expected to take 30 to 40 years to complete.

“I’m single, so I can somehow manage with the pay if I don’t go out to amuse myself, but I don’t think you can make a living if you have a family,” said a man in his fifties who has worked in the plant for three years. He has been eradicating debris and setting up tanks to store radioactive water, and is now in charge of removing contaminated water from the reactor building basements. He works for a third-tier subcontractor and makes a monthly salary of less than ¥200,000 ($1650 USD).

As The Japan Times reports, due to high radiation exposure, workers must wear heavy protective clothing and a mask that covers the whole face. It is difficult for them to work more than an hour and a half at a time. The workers start at around 5 a.m. because of the time it takes to get to the plant which is about 40 kilometers away, pass entrance checks and change clothing.

According to one worker his most recent monthly radiation dosage was 1.8 millisieverts. The law states that a nuclear worker’s radiation dosage should not exceed 100 millisieverts in five years and 50 millisieverts in a year. Since the reference mark in the plant is 20 millisieverts a year, the man’s dosage is nearing its limit.

“I feel that people are gradually forgetting about the nuclear accident,” he said. “From now, our work will become even harsher because we will have to go inside the reactor buildings, where the radiation level is even higher. I want people to recognize that there are such workplaces,” he told The Japan Times.

December 13, 2014 Posted by | employment, Japan | Leave a comment

Green energy now big business in Canada, bigger employer than tar sands is

green-collarflag-canadaCanada’s Green Energy Sector Now Employs More People Than Its Tar Sands, Climate Progress BY JEFF SPROSS DECEMBER 2, 2014 BETWEEN 2009 AND 2013, EMPLOYMENT IN CANADA’S CLEAN ENERGY SECTOR INCREASED BY 37 PERCENT — MEANING IT NOW SUPPLIES MORE JOBS THAN THE COUNTRY’S INFAMOUS TAR SANDS, ACCORDING TO A NEW REPORT.

 Tracking the Energy Revolution — released Tuesday by Clean Energy Canada, a climate think tank — defined clean energy jobs as any work involved in the production of clean power; in the manufacture of the related equipment; in creating energy efficiency technology or services, like smart grids and building energy savings; in infrastructure for green transpiration; and in biofuels. All told, those sectors employed 23,700 people in Canada as of 2013, while the tar sands industry employed only 22,340.

“Clean energy has moved from being a small niche or boutique industry to really big business in Canada,” said Merran Smith, the director of Clean Energy Canada.

Green energy tends to be more labor intensive than energy from fossil fuels, meaning that every unit of energy produced by green sources tends to employ more people than those sources that come along with carbon emissions. In America, research suggests green jobs are more accessible to workers without a college education, that green sectors grow a bit faster than the economy as a whole, and that they more successfully weathered the 2008 recession.

The report also noted that Canada’s energy generation capacity in wind, solar, and other renewable sources has grown 93 percent over the past five years, and investors have pumped $25 billion into green energy in the country over that same time period………..http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/12/02/3598312/canada-green-energy-tar-sands/

December 6, 2014 Posted by | Canada, employment | Leave a comment

Murky labor conditions at crippled Fukuhsima nuclear facility

Fukushima workers still in murky labor contracts: Tepco survey, Chicago Tribune, 27 Nov 14 The  number of workers at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant on false contracts has increased in the last year, the station operator said, highlighting murky labor conditions at the site despite a pledge to improve the work environment. The survey results released by Tokyo Electric Power Co <9501.T> (Tepco) late on Thursday showed that around 30 percent of plant workers polled said that they were paid by a different company from the contractor that normally directs them at the worksite, which is illegal under Japan’s labor laws.

A Reuters report in October found widespread confusion among plant workers at the Fukushima facility over their employment contracts and their promised hazard pay increase.

Many workers asked Tepco in the survey forms whether they were supposed to receive an equivalent of about $180 a day in hazard pay, the company said, adding that it did not mean each worker would necessarily see a pay increase of that amount.

Tepco said last November it would double the allocation for hazard pay to workers at Fukushima……..http://www.chicagotribune.com/bluesky/technology/sns-rt-us-fukushima-workers-20141127-story.html

December 3, 2014 Posted by | employment, Japan | Leave a comment

Will the 6000 Fukushima radioactive clean-up workers ever get the promised danger pay?

safety-symbol1flag-japanNuclear workers kept in dark on Fukushima hazard pay 25 CNBC  Reuters  7 Oct 2014  Almost a year after Japan pledged to double hazard pay at the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant, workers are still in the dark about how much extra they are getting paid, if anything, for cleaning up the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl.

Under pressure to improve working conditions at Fukushima after a series of radioactive water leaks last year, Tokyo Electric Power Co President Naomi Hirose promised in November to double the hazard pay the utility allocates to its subcontractors for plant workers. That would have increased the amount each worker at the nuclear facility is supposed to earn to about $180 a day in hazard pay.

Only one of the more than three dozen workers interviewed by Reuters from July through September said he received the full hazard pay increase promised by Tepco. Some workers said they got nothing. In cases where payslips detailed a hazard allowance, the amounts ranged from $36 to about $90 a day – at best half of what Hirose promised.

In some instances, workers said they were told they would be paid a hazard bonus based on how much radiation they absorb – an incentive to take additional risks at a dangerous work site…….

Tepco still relies on some 800 mostly small contractors to provide workers for the cleanup after the tsunami that swamped the plant on March 11, 2011 sparked meltdowns at three reactors. Subcontractors provide almost all of the 6,000 workers now employed at the plant. Tokyo Electric employs only about 250 on its own payroll at the facility.

The workforce at Fukushima has almost doubled over the past year, mostly as part of an effort to protect groundwater from being contaminated and to store water that comes in contact with melted fuel in the reactor buildings.

Some of the workers who arrived recently at the plant have been building bunkers to store highly radioactive sludge, which is a by-product of the process whereby contaminated water is treated. Others are installing equipment to freeze a ring of earth around four reactors at Fukushima to keep water from reaching the melted cores, an unprecedented effort directed by Kajima and expected to cost nearly $300 million.

Kazumitsu Nawata, a professor in the University of Tokyo’s department of technology who has researched conditions inside Fukushima, said that if workers do not receive pay that is commensurate with the risks they are taking, they will ultimately look elsewhere for employment. If more experienced workers leave for safer jobs in Tokyo where constructionprojects are accelerating ahead of the 2020 Olympic Games, it will also increase the likelihood of accidents at the plant, Nawata said in an interview.

“Until now, we have relied heavily on the goodwill of workers. But it’s already been three years since the accident. This is no longer sustainable,” he said. http://www.cnbc.com/id/102068504#.

October 10, 2014 Posted by | employment, Japan | Leave a comment

USA’s Airforce to give nuclear officers a special high pay rate

AF approves special pay for nuclear career fields, US AirForce, October 02, 2014 WASHINGTON (AFNS) –

Assignment incentive pay and special duty assignment pay for select total force nuclear career fields became effective Oct. 1, following Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James’ recent announcement.

“The purpose of these special pays is to incentivize Airmen to volunteer for and perform duties in a particular career field, location and/or special assignment where the scope of responsibility and required skills exceed those of other Airmen in the same career field and rank,” said Brig. Gen. Brian Kelly, director of force management policy.

Select officers and enlisted members serving in eleven nuclear career fields and assignment areas will receive between $75 and $300 per month.  Nuclear careers fields selected for these special  pays include enlisted service members assigned to command post, nuclear aircraft maintenance, security forces, missile maintenance, aircraft armament systems, nuclear weapons and support personnel who deploy to the ICBM complex.  Missile launch, security forces and missile maintenance officers will be eligible to receive special pays as well……..http://www.af.mil/News/ArticleDisplay/tabid/223/Article/503220/af-approves-special-pay-for-nuclear-career-fields.aspx

October 6, 2014 Posted by | employment, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Secrecy and poor labour conditions at Fukushima nuclear plant

Fukushima-inspectionFukushima Worker: “All sorts of troubles going on in plant”; Officials won’t tell public what really happens — People should worry, it’s not under control — Employees wear disguises over fear of retaliation — Reporter: Tour of plant “was very strange… feels completely dead… not many people” (VIDEO) http://enenews.com/fukushima-worker-all-sorts-troubles-going-inside-plant-officials-arent-disclosing-problems-public-im-concerned-safety-employees-wear-disguises-fear-retaliation-plant-control-people-be-worried-vi?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ENENews+%28Energy+News%29

NHK
, Sept. 24, 2014 (at 2:15 in): [A Fukushima Daiichi worker’s attorney] warns that the current system could endanger the entire decommissioning process… “Tepco should be held accountable for turning a blind eye. It needs to improve labor conditions, otherwise the situation will make it impossible to secure enough workers to deal with the nuclear accident.” >>Watch the video here

The Guardian, Sept. 9, 2014 (emphasis added):Fukushima fallout continues… [There’s an] unprecedented attempt by four Fukushima Daiichi workers to sue the utility for unpaid wages… [T]he four men… wore masks in court for fear of reprisals from their employers… “A year ago, the prime minister told the world that Fukushima was under control. But that’s not the case,” Tsuguo Hirota told Reuters… “It’s becoming a place for amateurs only, and that has to worry anyone who lives near the plant.”… “My health could suffer… I believe there are many people who can’t speak out about this kind of problem,” one of the workers told public broadcaster NHK.

Time Magazine correspondent Hannah Beech, Sept. 7, 2014: Just to get into the plant it –again — it’s like a Hollywood movie… What was very strange about walking into this place is that it feels completely dead. You don’t see that many people moving around. And those people that you do see, there’s not a palpable sense of urgency, but you realize that the work that they’re doing is so important. And they may not be getting the full of backing that they should to be able to do this. >> Full interview here

NPR, March 11, 2014: About 100 out of the 4,000 people working in the plant every day are TEPCO employees. The rest are subcontractors… Workers [are barred from] speaking to the media… I met a TEPCO worker who was on the job when the quake and tsunami hit… and talked in his car… on the condition that we not identify him and disguise his voice. He says it’s well known at the plant that shoddy work is being done… Many problems inside the Fukushima plant go unreported… The worker says that the Japanese government now needs to step in and guarantee the welfare and safety of all the workers…

TEPCO employee at Fukushima Daiichi (at 2:45 in): I’m concerned about my safety… There are things they feel they don’t have to disclose. There are all sorts of troubles going oninside the plant.

Full interview with the anonymous Fukushima worker here http://enenews.com/fukushima-worker-all-sorts-troubles-going-inside-plant-officials-arent-disclosing-problems-public-im-concerned-safety-employees-wear-disguises-fear-retaliation-plant-control-people-be-worried-vi?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ENENews+%28Energy+News%29

September 29, 2014 Posted by | employment, Fukushima 2014, Japan | 1 Comment

Reinstatement of nuclear whistleblower ordered by USA Feds

whistleblowerFeds Order Reinstatement of Nuclear Whistleblower abc news, SEATTLE — Aug 21, 2014 The U.S. Department of Labor has ordered a Hanford Nuclear Reservation contractor to reinstate a worker who the department says was fired for voicing concerns about nuclear and environmental safety, officials announced Wednesday.

Richland-based Washington River Protection Solutions, a subsidiary of URS Corporation and Energy Solutions, was also ordered to pay $220,000 in back wages and other expenses.

The company denies the allegations that the worker was fired in retaliation.

But the labor department said the contractor violated federal whistleblower provisions. The worker first blew the whistle on nuclear and environmental safety and permit and record-keeping violations in 2009, according to the labor department. The worker was fired two years later and unsuccessfully re-applied for the job in 2012. The reason for the initial firing was “poor performance.”

“The people most able to identify hazards are often the workers who are threatened by them,” Galen Lemke, the labor department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration acting regional administrator, said in a statement. “Employees must never be punished for sounding an alarm when they see a problem that could injure, sicken or kill someone, or harm the environment.”…….http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/feds-order-reinstatement-nuclear-whistleblower-25063970

August 22, 2014 Posted by | employment, USA | Leave a comment

Renewabl eenergy providing 6.5 million jobs

logo-IRENACareer in renewable energy? 6.5m jobs for grabs, Emirates 24/7 July 12, 2014 There may now be as many as 6.5 million direct and indirect jobs in renewable energy, according to updated data from the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena).

Earlier assessments had put the global estimate at 2.3 million jobs in 2008 (United Nations Environment Programme) and at 5 million jobs in 2012 (International Labour Organisation).

Although these estimates suggest a strong expansion in employment in renewable energy, the figures also represent successive efforts to broaden data collection across countries and sectors, reads the Worldwatch Institute’s latest Vital Signs Online trend.

green-jobs

The overall upward trend in renewable energy jobs has been accompanied by considerable turmoil in some industries.

Nowhere are the upheavals more noticeable than in the solar photovoltaic (PV) sector, where intensified competition, massive overcapacities, and tumbling prices have caused a high degree of turbulence in the last two to three years, but they have also triggered a boom in installations.

Global PV employment is thought to have expanded from 1.4 million jobs in 2012 to as many as 2.3 million in 2013……….

All in all, available information suggests that renewable energy has grown to become a significant source of jobs. Rising labour productivity notwithstanding, the job numbers are likely to grow in coming decades as the world’s energy system shifts toward low-carbon sources.

Solar PV has bypassed biofuels (ethanol and biodiesel) as the top renewable energy job generator……….http://www.emirates247.com/news/career-in-renewable-energy-6-5m-jobs-for-grabs-2014-07-12-1.556215

July 14, 2014 Posted by | 2 WORLD, employment, renewable | Leave a comment

Exodus of nuclear workers from TEPCO

Stigmatized nuclear workers quit Japan utility. Bloomberg Business Week, By By Yuri Kageyama July 10, 2014 TOKYO (AP) — Stigma, pay cuts, and risk of radiation exposure are among the reasons why 3,000 employees have left the utility at the center of Japan’s 2011 nuclear disaster. Now there’s an additional factor: better paying jobs in the feel good solar energy industry.

Engineers and other employees at TEPCO, or Tokyo Electric Power Co., were once typical of Japan’s corporate culture that is famous for prizing loyalty to a single company and lifetime employment with it. But the March 2011 tsunami that swamped the coastal Fukushima Dai-ichi plant, sending three reactors into meltdown, changed that.

TEPCO was widely criticized for being inadequately prepared for a tsunami despite Japan’s long history of being hit by giant waves and for its confused response to the disaster. The public turned hostile toward the nuclear industry and TEPCO, or “Toh-den,” as the Japanese say it, became a dirty word.

Only 134 people quit TEPCO the year before the disaster. The departures ballooned to 465 in 2011, another 712 in 2012 and 488 last year. Seventy percent of those leaving were younger than 40. When the company offered voluntary retirement for the first time earlier this year, some 1,151 workers applied for the 1,000 available redundancy packages.

The exodus, which has reduced staff to about 35,700 people, adds to the challenges of the ongoing work at Fukushima Dai-ichi to keep meltdowns under control, remove the fuel cores and safely decommission the reactors, which is expected to take decades……

The factors pushing workers out have piled up. The financial strain of the disaster has led to brutal salary cuts while ongoing problems at Fukushima, such as substantial leaks of irradiated water, have reinforced the image of a bumbling and irresponsible organization…….http://www.businessweek.com/ap/2014-07-10/stigmatized-nuclear-workers-quit-japan-utility

July 12, 2014 Posted by | employment, Japan | Leave a comment

Solar energy in Japan attracting nuclear workers – for clean, safe, and better paid jobs

Stigmatized nuclear workers quit Japan utility. Bloomberg Business Week, By By Yuri Kageyama July 10, 2014 TOKYO (AP) —”………While TEPCO is out of favor with the public, the skills and experience of its employees that span the gamut of engineers, project managers, maintenance workers and construction and financial professionals, are not.

Energy industry experience is in particular demand as the development of solar and other green energy businesses is pushed along in Japan by generous government subsidies.

Currently the government pays solar plants 32 yen ($0.31) per kilowatt hour of energy. The so-called tariff for solar power varies by states and cities in the U.S., but they are as low as several cents. In Germany, it’s about 15 cents.

Sean Travers, Japan president of EarthStream, a London-based recruitment company that specializes in energy jobs, has been scrambling to woo TEPCO employees as foreign companies do more clean energy business in Japan.

“TEPCO employees are very well trained and have excellent knowledge of how the Japanese energy sector works, making them very attractive,” he said. Two top executives at U.S. solar companies doing business in Japan, First Solar director Karl Brutsaert and SunPower Japan director Takashi Sugihara, said they have interviewed former TEPCO employees for possible posts.

Besides their experience, knowledge of how the utility industry works and their contacts, with both private industry and government bureaucracy, are prized assets.

“It’s about the human network and the TEPCO employees have all the contacts,” said Travers, who says he has recruited about 20 people from TEPCO and is hoping to get more.

Yoshikawa, the former TEPCO maintenance worker, said he has received several offers for green-energy jobs that paid far better than his salary at TEPCO of 3 million yen ($30,000) a year.

Since September 2012, all TEPCO managers have had their salaries slashed by 30 percent, while workers in non-management positions had their pay reduced 20 percent. http://www.businessweek.com/ap/2014-07-10/stigmatized-nuclear-workers-quit-japan-utility

July 10, 2014 Posted by | employment, Japan | Leave a comment

Impressive growth in renewable energy jobs

Jobs in Renewable Energy Expand in Turbulent Process http://www.investorideas.com/news/2014/renewable-energy/07031.asp New analysis examines global trends in employment in the renewable energy sector

green-jobs

Ideas get bigger when you share them… Washington, D.C. – July 3, 2014 (Investorideas.com renewable energy stocks newswire) There may now be as many as 6.5 million direct and indirect jobs in renewable energy, according to updated data from theInternational Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). Earlier assessments had put the global estimate at 2.3 million jobs in 2008 (United Nations Environment Programme) and at 5 million jobs in 2012 (International Labour Organization). Although these estimates suggest a strong expansion in employment in renewable energy, the figures also represent successive efforts to broaden data collection across countries and sectors, write Worldwatch Senior Researcher Michael Renner and IRENA’s Rabia Ferroukhi, Arslan Khalid, and Alvaro Lopez-Peña in the Worldwatch Institute’s latest Vital Signs Online trend (www.worldwatch.org).

The overall upward trend in renewable energy jobs has been accompanied by considerable turmoil in some industries. Nowhere are the upheavals more noticeable than in the solar photovoltaic (PV) sector, where intensified competition, massive overcapacities, and tumbling prices have caused a high degree of turbulence in the last two to three years, but they have also triggered a boom in installations. Global PV employment is thought to have expanded from 1.4 million jobs in 2012 to as many as 2.3 million in 2013.

Solar PV has bypassed biofuels (ethanol and biodiesel) as the top renewable energy job generator. Most of the 1.45 million biofuels jobs are found in the growing and harvesting of feedstock such as sugar cane, corn, or palm oil. This involves physically demanding manual work, and workers often contend with oppressive workplace conditions. Processing of the feedstock into fuels offers far fewer jobs, but the ones created are higher skilled and they pay better.

Employment in the next-largest renewables sector, wind power, is estimated to run to some 834,000 jobs. Uncertainty about the future direction of policies in several countries weakened job creation in this field in 2013, leading to a sharp drop in new installations in the United States and to weak markets in large parts of Europe and in India. In contrast, developments in China and Canada were more positive.

Countries that are home to half of the world’s population-China, members of the European Union, Brazil, the United States, and India-account for the bulk of renewable energy employment: 5.8 million direct and indirect (supply chain) jobs out of 6.5 million worldwide.

Better information is necessary for a range of countries to generate a more complete and accurate renewable energy employment picture. Attention is also needed on the question of whether development of renewable energy leads to job loss elsewhere, including in the conventional energy industries.

All in all, available information suggests that renewable energy has grown to become a significant source of jobs. Rising labor productivity notwithstanding, the job numbers are likely to grow in coming decades as the world’s energy system shifts toward low-carbon sources.

Country Highlights from the Report:

  • China is the largest employer in the renewable energy sector. The latest estimates by the country’s National Renewable Energy Center suggest almost 1.6 million jobs in the solar PV industry in 2013. Other major sources of renewables employment provide close to 1 million jobs.
  • European Union member states had more than 1.2 million renewable energy jobs in 2012. Even though Germany suffered some job losses in 2013, the country remains the dominant renewable energy employer in Europe, with about 371,000 jobs. Spain’s renewables sector has been hit hard by economic crisis and a series of adverse government policy changes. The country suffered a net loss of 23,700 jobs between 2008 and 2012, or 17 percent.
  • In Brazil, renewable energy is largely synonymous with sugarcane-based ethanol. A factor of rising importance is the growing mechanization of sugarcane harvesting, which has brought the number of direct jobs down from 460,000 in 2006 to 331,000 in 2012, even as ethanol processing jobs increased.
  • In the United States, the number of wind and ethanol jobs has fluctuated, but solar employment has been rising fast. In the wind sector, the stop-and-go nature of the U.S. Production Tax Credit has affected employment, with the 92 percent drop in new wind installations during 2013 resulting in a decline from 80,700 jobs in 2012 to 50,500 jobs in 2013. U.S. ethanol employment fell in 2012 because of rising feedstock prices, reduced yields due to drought, and lower demand, although conditions improved and employment stabilized in 2013. Solar employment was close to 143,000 jobs in 2013, a gain of 20 percent.
  • In most other countries, the number of renewable energy jobs is still limited, and often there is simply no reliable information at all.

For more information and to obtain a complimentary copy of “Jobs in Renewable Energy Expand in Turbulent Process,” please contact Gaelle Gourmelon at ggourmelon@worldwatch.org.

About the Worldwatch Institute:

July 5, 2014 Posted by | 2 WORLD, employment | Leave a comment

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