Renewable energy is becoming a significant job producer with as many as 26 million people expected to be working in the sector by 2050, Adnan Z. Amin, director-general of the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena), said here on Saturday.
He was launching the annual report on the implementation of Irena's work programme during its Eighth Assembly. The Assembly will be held over two days till January 14 and is being attended by more than 1,000 government representatives from 150 countries.
The director-general said Irena's annual renewable energy job reviews for 2017 shows the renewable energy sector supported 9.8 million jobs globally. Solar PV is the largest employer with 3.1 million jobs worldwide, a 12 per cent increase from the 2016 job review.
As the transformation of the current energy system into renewables is gaining pace, Amin said falling costs and rapid innovation have spurred investments, transforming renewable energy from niche to an economically and technically preferred solution.
Quoting from a report on renewable power generation costs, Amin said the cost of utility-scale solar PV electricity has fallen by 73 per cent since 2010, and record low prices in Chile, Mexico, Peru, Saudi Arabia and the UAE have made USD 3 cents/kWh the new benchmark. "Onshore wind projects are now routinely commissioned at 4 cents/kWh, with the global average of 6 cents."
A similar trend is emerging in battery storage technologies as well. Electric vehicle battery costs have fallen 73 per cent between 2010 and 2016, and the Irena estimates the overall storage costs could fall by over 60 per cent by 2030 for different technologies.
Amin said since 2012, renewable power capacity installations have exceeded non-renewables by a rising margin and, in 2016, they represented 60 per cent of all new power-generating capacity.
"Investment reached a comparable milestone in 2015 when renewable power technologies for the first time attracted more finance than non-renewable power technologies. In 2016, more than 90 per cent of investment came from private sources, of which 40 per cent was from project developers," he said.
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