“Employment in the EU’s renewable energy sector has broken through the one million mark for the first time, after the number of people working in the industry increased 25 per cent in 2010.
The latest figures from the European Commission reveal over 1.14 million people were working in green energy in 2010, an increase of a quarter on 2009. Meanwhile, revenue for the sector soared by 15 per cent year-on-year to €127bn.
With separate reports suggesting the sector continued to grow during 2011, the industry is likely to be considerably larger by now.
According to the report, the solid biomass power sector was the largest employer, accounting for 273,000 jobs, followed by solar photovoltaic (PV) and wind power, which supported 268,110 and 253,145 jobs respectively.
The UK had the ninth biggest renewable energy sector in terms of employment in 2010, boasting 31,700 jobs. Wind accounted for 9,200 of these, followed by biogas at 6,000, biofuels at 5,300, solar PV at 5,000, and biomass with 2,000 employees.
However, the figures are likely to be already out of date with trade associations reporting that over 10,000 people now work in the wind energy industry, while the surge in demand for solar panels last year is thought to have supported between 20,000 and 30,000 jobs. In addition, further employment growth is predicted across the renewables sector over the next five years after a host of wind turbine firms recently announced plans to locate new factories in the UK.
Germany topped the employment league table with 361,360 jobs, based on strong growth in the PV sector. France came in second place with 174,735 jobs, with Italy, Spain and Sweden making up the top five.
The Germans also ruled the roost in terms of turnover, recording €36bn of revenue across the renewable energy sector in 2010.”
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