The International Renewable Energy Association recently released the sixth edition of it Renewable Energy and Jobs report, announcing the renewable energy sector employed at least 11 million people last year, directly and indirectly. The solar photovoltaics, bioenergy, hydro, and wind power industries were the biggest employers.
Bioenergy, which includes liquid biofuels, solid biomass and biogas, employed approximately 3.18 million people last year, up from 3.06 million in 2017 and 2.74 million in 2016.
Approximately 2.063 million people were employed by the liquid biofuels industry in 2018, with 787,000 employed in solid biomass and 334,000 employed in biogas.
According to IRENA, worldwide biofuels employment is estimated at 2 million, up 6 percent from 2017. Many of the jobs in the sector are generated in planting and harvesting of feedstock. Fuel-processing facilities tend to offer fewer jobs than feedstock supply. However, those jobs typically required higher technical skills and offer better pay.
With 832,000 jobs, Brazil has the world’s largest workforce in liquid biofuels. In the U.S., record production in 2018 drove up liquid biofuels employment to 311,000 jobs. Biofuel employment in the EU reached approximately 208,000 jobs in 2017, which is the most recent year for which data is available. Brazil, the U.S. Indonesia, Columbia and Thailand are the top five countries for employment in liquid biofuels.
Heat and electricity derived from solid biomass accounted for approximately 387,000 jobs in the EU in 2017. There were approximately 186,000 jobs attributed to solid biomass in China, with 79,000 in the U.S. and 58,000 in India.
For biogas, approximately 145,000 of the estimated 334,000 jobs were in China, with 85,000 in India, 67,000 in the EU and 7,000 in the U.S.
A full copy of the report can be downloaded from the IRENA website.