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Europe’s Renewables Sector Exceeds 1 Million Jobs, €140B

Photo: Adam Gregor/Shutterstock.com
Photo: Adam Gregor/Shutterstock.com

The European Commission’s energy department reports that the renewable energy sector employed over one million people in Europe and created a turnover of around €143.6 billion in 2015.

The Commission quotes a new report published by EurObserv’ER, which monitors trends in renewable energy across Europe.

According to the report – the State of Renewable Energies in Europe – the countries with the highest amount of renewable energy jobs were Germany, France, the UK, Italy and Spain.

Emerging technologies

Now that major renewables sectors such as photovoltaic and wood-energy can compete with fossil fuels “the pressure is on to support emerging technologies,” says Remi Charbillat, director of sustainable production and energies at France’s environment and energy agency Ademe in a foreword to the report.

“It is by harnessing ocean energies or second- or third-generation biofuel that Europe will take the lead and look ahead to 2030 and beyond,” he said.

As the clean economy ramps up, companies and organisations increasingly look for the knowledge and skills in their workforce to keep up. Universities around Europe are offering specialist programmes to prepare the next generation – and to attract new, international talent to Europe.

Investment increase

Wind energy was named as the main driver of jobs and growth in the sector overall with 12 EU countries seeing growth and over 12 GW of newly installed turbines. The wind sector accounts for over 324,000 jobs and its turnover was €48.3 billion in 2014, the report says.

The report also said that wind energy has been the driver of investments in renewables over recent years. Between 2013 and 2014, investments in renewable energy generation projects increased significantly, mainly in wind energy.

While the market for photovoltaic energy has flattened in Europe, the sector still had a turnover of €16.4 billion and accounted for 120,000 jobs, according to the report. Heat pumps and biofuels came in next with turnovers of €13.8 billion and €13.4 billion respectively. Biogas, small hydro, solar thermal and geothermal all had a turnover in the range of €1.3 – 6.1 billion.

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