IRENA publishes Renewable Energy and Jobs: Annual Review 2022
(sustainabilityenvironment.com) – Renewable energy jobs continue to grow. This was shown yesterday by solarpower Europe with the numbers of European solar jobs, confirmed today by the international agency IRENA, with its Renewable Energy and Jobs: Annual Review 2022. In one year, 2021, employment in green energy increased by 4.3 million. Reaching a total, globally more than 12.7 million jobs, despite pandemic and energy crisis. The document, drawn up in collaboration with the International Labour Organization (ILO), shows opportunities and challenges for the sector, a litmus test of national expansionist aims in clean energy.
Jobs in renewable energy, focus on human capital
This ninth edition also highlights a number of issues related to quality and working standards in the extraction and processing of incoming raw materials (upstream) and in material handling once renewable energy generation plants are decommissioned (downstream).
Elements, stress the authors, which vary greatly from country to country depending on existing laws and the degree of application. “Industrial practices also affect quality and safety at work as well as the health and rights of workers,” the report said. “National laws and regulations do not always exist or are not necessarily applied. The growing awareness of abusive situations, such as child labor under difficult conditions in cobalt mining – could force change. One challenge is to formalize the current black-working arrangements”.
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The authors also consider it essential to pay attention to human capital, since it requires “the right skills to produce, install and maintain energy transition technologies”. Providing them to workers and helping them in ongoing change requires “investment in education, training and human resource development. Such spending is often misunderstood as a cost to be minimized; it is instead an investment that offers high economic returns, as a more skilled workforce reduces unemployment and increases productivity and wages”.