As Dylan said: The times they are a-changin’ and that includes the way we get our energy.
As more time and effort goes into finding more environmentally-friendly energy options, so do the amount of people needed to make those energy options possible. We are finally beginning to see the fruit of that labor because, for the first time, there are more people working in the clean energy business than in oil.
Workers in clean energy, specifically solar power, rose by over a million people in 2015. Jobs in solar power even outpaced the global hiring average for the year by a whopping 12 times!
This job creation boon is a combination of government efforts, and bad luck for the oil industry. Because of tax rebates, incentive programs and government assistance, more households and business are upgrading their energy output by installing rooftop solar panels. This demand for solar panels requires more workers to manufacture and install them. At the same time, the slipping oil industry is beginning to cut jobs as the dollar-per-barrel of oil continues its 2-year slide.
“The continued job growth in the renewable energy sector is significant because it stands in contrast to trends across the energy sector,” said Adnan Amin, director-general of Irena, which is based in Abu Dhabi. “This increase is being driven by declining renewable energy technology costs and enabling policy frameworks. We expect this to continue as the case for renewables strengthens and countries move to achieve climate targets.”
This isn’t a trend only in the United States either. Renewable energy is being installed in countries around the world including Germany, Japan, South Africa and more. China is even leading the way by installing 65 gigawatts worth of renewable energy, creating over 3 million new jobs.
Solar isn’t the only energy getting attention. It may be responsible for almost 3 of the 8 million worldwide jobs created, but there is significant growth in the biofuel, hydrogen, wind, and biomass industries as well.
The world still has a dependance on oil, and that isn’t likely to change anytime soon. But as the relatively young renewable energy sector matures, incentives for use will rise, the cost of converting a household to renewable energy will fall, and jobs will continue to be created.