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Renewable Energy Powers Jobs For Almost 10 Million People (bloomberg.com) 132

According to the International Renewable Energy Agency's (IRENA) annual report, the renewable energy industry employed 9.8 million people last year, which is up 1.1 percent from 2015. The strongest growth was seen in the solar photovoltaic category with 3.09 million jobs. Bloomberg reports: Here are some of the highlights from the report: Global renewables employment has climbed every year since 2012, with solar photovoltaic becoming the largest segment by total jobs in 2016. Solar photovoltaic employed 3.09 million people, followed by liquid biofuels at 1.7 million. The wind industry had 1.2 million employees, a 7 percent increase from 2015. Employment in renewables, excluding large hydro power, increased 2.8 percent last year to 8.3 million people, with China, Brazil, the U.S., India, Japan and Germany the leading job markets. Asian countries accounted for 62 percent of total jobs in 2016 compared with 50 percent in 2013. Renewables jobs could total 24 million in 2030, as more countries take steps to combat climate change, IRENA said.
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Renewable Energy Powers Jobs For Almost 10 Million People

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  • While coal and other environmentalist-hostile industries are assaulted by regulatory burdens. In addition, the alleged jobs in suitably-blessed energy forms do not translate well to places favored by coal - which can amount to an indirect assault on the Appalachian regions.

    • by Jzanu ( 668651 ) on Wednesday May 24, 2017 @02:21AM (#54475447)
      You mean the US region that exists in the state it is exclusively due to a history of being overlooked for resource investments, both from government and business? That is greater reason to fix the infrastructure and provide greater US federal budget supplement to improve education both in schools and by establishing libraries and community education programs. One region can't hold back a country, much less the world which is the purview of the IRENA as it is modeled after the IAEA.
      • On the other hand, perhaps working with the people that do exist would be a good idea.

      • That is greater reason to fix the infrastructure and provide greater US federal budget supplement to improve education both in schools and by establishing libraries and community education programs.

        This is exactly the opposite of what we should be doing. There are very good reasons that Appalachia has never been successful at anything other than resource extraction. By far the best thing we can do is help the people there move somewhere else.

        I grew up in Appalachia. My grandfather died of black lung disease. I left on my 18th birthday on a bus to Parris Island. I have relatives that left, and like me, are doing well. I have relatives that stayed, and are mostly living in trailer parks.

        The people s

        • by dgatwood ( 11270 )

          This is exactly the opposite of what we should be doing. There are very good reasons that Appalachia has never been successful at anything other than resource extraction.

          Besides the contour of the land, those reasons would be....

          • Besides the contour of the land, those reasons would be....

            That is reason enough. No one is going to open a software dev shop 60 miles up a winding mountain road.

            Another reason is the people. They are widely dispersed, uneducated, and proudly close minded. When I took my kids to Kentucky to visit their cousins, they were shocked at the cultural divide. These are the people that thought that building a replica of Noah's Ark was a good use of their tax dollars. And now they want other people to pay for their roads.

      • On the other hand, perhaps working with the people that do exist would be a very good idea.

      • On the other hand, working with the people that do exist would be a good idea.

    • by Maxo-Texas ( 864189 ) on Wednesday May 24, 2017 @02:27AM (#54475461)

      Not really... coal is just more expensive than natural gas.

      In at least a half dozen places, coal seam fires have rendered hundreds of square miles uninhabitable. We freak out when nuclear power renders hundreds of square miles uninhabitable.

      The trump administration is directly assaulting the Appalachian regions. Cutting jobs programs and their safety net. The proposed republican budget cuts the benefits, food subsidies, and state to state tax transfers which have previously benefited Appalachian regions even further AND gives the money to wealthy people (almost all to the top 0.1%- not even to the top 1%) .

      • by dcw3 ( 649211 )

        I'm not sure where the uninhabitable ones are...I haven't searched through the list here, but people have moved back into the town of Centralia, after it had originally been condemned. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

      • Many failed candidates, especially Democrats, have openly showed their contempt for Appalachian regions while Trump embraced them.

        • Well, he said he was going to embrace them, but the fact is those jobs are gone, and gone forever. Coal mining is a fading industry, largely killed by natural gas, but in the end renewables will deal the death blow. What needs to be done is job retraining and economic diversification, not selling people fantasies of coal's return. A leader should seek to better peoples' lots, not simply tell them what they want to hear, and then pursue policies that will in fact do them great harm.

          • Well, he said he was going to embrace them, but your allegation is those jobs are gone, and gone forever.

            Natural gas hasn't really killed it, environmental regulation did. Remove it, tell the Sierra Club to pound the Sahara Desert into glass, and note the resurgence of coal.

            Job retraining won't do worth shit, since you make the faulty assumption that the people are defective and must be made to conform to business desires - versus businesses making do with the people we have. Second, it assumes that meaningful jobs will exist for those nearing or well north of 40 or with non-standard skillsets - as employers

            • Regulations definitely made it more expensive, but without regulations, coal is bloody awful; both in the mining and burning. Would you want to live anywhere near an unregulated coal-powered plant? Seriously? You understand that coal is pretty close to the worst polluting way to generate electricity there is, and it's only through regulation that the coal industry ever cleaned up. I don't know how anyone can defend deregulating coal, it would be insane, polluting the air and waterways.

              But natural gas, parti

    • by darthsilun ( 3993753 ) on Wednesday May 24, 2017 @05:04AM (#54475751)

      Wait. Regulatory burdens put in place why exactly? Because without those nasty old regulatory burdens the industry destroyed the environment, shifting the real cost of that source of energy to the future , as costs to clean up the messes they made.

      Costs that in many cases were born by everyone, not just the people who mined that coal, or burned it.

      And then everyone said no, not any more you don't. And on top of that we place a dollar value preserving the environment.

      Basically pure, unfettered capitalism all the way around is what has destroyed coal in the Appalachians.

      But you want a Communist solution. You want everyone – everyone – to pitch in and make sure you have a good paying job.

      The Constitution doesn't guarantee you a job. There's no Amendment for that. You want Capitalism. You live by Capitalism. You die by Capitalism. Go join the buggy whip and candle makers.

      Or learn something new to make a living with.

      In times of profound change the learners inherit the Earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists. – Al Rogers

      In times of drastic change, it is the learners who inherit the future. The learned usually find themselves equipped to live in a world that no longer exists. – Eric Hoffer

    • I'd say their more assaulted by black lung, cave-ins, fires, and general pollution. The number of people desiring coal for any reason other than 'jobs' is likely very small.
    • Arby's employs more people than all the coal companies combined.

      https://www.washingtonpost.com... [washingtonpost.com]

    • Counterpoint to your post: The Kentucky Coal Museum is going solar to save money. [arstechnica.com]

      That's some weapons-grade irony right there.

  • What nonsense is all this alternative/renewable energy talk? As our leader says: the future is in coal! Open the mines! dig that black ore from the ground and put it into the sky! And screw Paris and our obligation to the world while we're at it. That's where the real jobs are. Let China and Germany, and well, the rest of the world have those puny jobs.. [interesting, well paying, lasting, fun, and beneficial to all as they may be.] We will be just fine with coal. Oh, and oil. And cars and factories that b
  • The figure that matters is are KwH produced for the money spent. We could employ everyone on earth riding stationary bicycles to drive little dynamos for electricity, but that's not a worthwhile goal.

    -jcr

    • We could employ everyone on earth riding stationary bicycles to drive little dynamos for electricity, but that's not a worthwhile goal.

      You could get a billion dollar valuation for that idea, if you pitch it as a combination renewable energy and weight loss plan, and write an app that gives everyone little reward incentives for each mile.

    • The productivity is high enough. It's a simple enough math: the selling const of the electricity, which is approaching rather low levels in some places already [bloomberg.com], is bound from below by cost of labor and non-labor (energy and materials) inputs. Clearly if you beat other sources by price, you can't be comparatively inefficient unless you're subsidizing it out of your own pocket. So the labor and non-labor inputs must be lower than the ever-shrinking PPA price. The Chilean solar price is already measurably lowe
    • by fermion ( 181285 )
      "The figure that matters is are KwH produced for the money spent. "

      Wind power regularly provides overnight sport prices that are negative. Even people on bicycles require regular food. Once fixed costs are paid, wind requires no such costly external inputs

      For comparison, rate payers in two jurisdictions are current paying about $100 a month for nuclear power they are not even getting, and may never get given that toshiba has written off $9 billions dollars and the unit has gone bankrupt.

  • by Jim Sadler ( 3430529 ) on Wednesday May 24, 2017 @05:52AM (#54475885)
    Clean renewable energy is needed big time. And we need to get it up and running faster than we are now. Sadly Trump pulling stunts like allowing more coal pollution will slow down clean energy growth. If Trump had outlawed coal the push for clean energy production would have sped up. The second part of the issue is doubling up on the profits of clean energy by making certain that the land used by energy plants also generates other income. Surely rows of mirrors could have fish ponds running along the rows so that fish farming could add to the value of the land use. Or maybe there is some crop that could thrive between the rows of mirrors. Sweet potatoes seem to be able to grow well under many circumstances. Even a little bit of land can offer a large sweet potato crop. Even a windmill could have a large rental apartment at its base. One way or another there has to be a way to make investment in renewable power more attractive for investors.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Trump has had no effect on coal production. Coal production dropped due to increase in natural gas usage for power production, which has been going on for 20 years when the big push to build out combined cycle plants started. The costs to improve stack emissions have also helped to close some coal plants. Also, you aren't just going to shut down coal plants or make it illegal without getting sued for all those stranded assets. They have perfectly legal environmental and operating permits. The court settl

      • You can, however, price fossil fuels for the long-term costs they will produce. You know, how you assure that future generations don't subsidize today's energy usage. Natural gas is better than coal, but is in no way a non-greenhouse gas producing energy source.

  • The purpose of power generation is to generate power, not employ people. AEI claims 79x as many people are required in the solar industry to generate the same power from a coal plant. I have not dug into the numbers and am not citing the stat to bash solar, only make the point that this is not a good thing to be celebrated. We want solar power to generate tons of energy while employing very few people.

    • AEI is full of shit. If solar took 79x as many people as coal, it would cost much more than coal.

      • Your implied claim that solar is cheaper than coal requires evidence. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wik... [wikipedia.org]

        Not to mention solar generates for ~4.5 hours per day and comparing it to baseline power is silly in itself.

        But my point is about the headcount metric being a poor proxy.

  • by ooloorie ( 4394035 ) on Wednesday May 24, 2017 @08:08AM (#54476455)

    We could employ even more people in the renewable energy industry if we generated energy (renewably!) by paying people to run in human hamster wheels coupled to generators! Lots of jobs and green energy! What's not to like?

  • Are they full time? Part time? Contract? Temp? Hellooo.... Odds are the majority are contractors and temp laborers, "disposable" labor. Just wait a couple of years then you'll see the truth behind the numbers as the millions hired suddenly get the axe.

  • While coal and other environmentalist-hostile industries are assaulted by regulatory burdens. In addition, the alleged jobs in suitably-blessed energy forms do not translate well to places favored by coal - which amount to an indirect assault on the Appalachian regions.

    • And once again, renewables had little to do with coal's decline. That was natural gas. The only "assault" on the Appalachians is the march of time. Coal is dying, and no amount of grand promises from the guy currently sitting in the White House will reverse that.

      • And once again, renewables had little to do with coal's decline

        Aside from being pushed along with overzealous environmentalism. What may seem nice in Aspen or Davos definitely does not fly in Appalachia.

        But if you want to insist that environmentalists are pure as the driven snow, persist in your strong delusion. They are the ones that are trying to kill coal for being too unfriendly to them.

        • Coal wasn't killed by environmentalists, it was killed by natural gas. Coal mining regions around the Western world have seen labor declines for years, and while I'm sure environmental regulations play a part (as they should, coal is just plain fucking to mine and burn, it's a dirty fuel from beginning to end). Even where coal is still being mined, it's increasingly automated, so any kind of recovery in coal isn't going to deliver the jobs from that region which you seem to care so very much about.

          Sometimes

  • Improving efficiency in energy production means generating the same amount of energy with fewer jobs. Solar provided 0.45% of the world's energy [iea.org] in 2015. If it needed 3 million workers to do this, then providing 100% of our energy with solar would require 667 million workers, or 8.9% of the world's population.

    When India was building a dam, the chief designer toured the construction site and noticed men digging with shovels while the heavy earthmoving equipment sat unused. He asked his guide from the I
  • While coal and other environmentalist-hostile industries are assaulted by regulatory burdens. In addition, the alleged jobs in suitably-blessed energy forms do not translate well to places favored by coal, which can amount to an indirect assault on the Appalachian regions.

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