While I recently wrote an article on Green Job Opportunities, until today I was unaware of just how many green jobs there actually are. Sure, I know it’s a fast-growing field, and many of the e-mails I get are asking about job opportunities in the sector. Today, a study was released by Worldwatch Institute that provides some answers:
Currently about 2.3 million people worldwide work either directly in renewables or indirectly in supplier industries. Given incomplete data, this is in all likelihood a conservative figure. The wind power industry employs some 300,000 people, the solar photovoltaics (PV) sector accounts for an estimated 170,000 jobs, and the solar thermal industry, at least 624,000. More than 1 million jobs are found in the biomass and biofuels sector. Small-scale hydropower and geothermal energy are far smaller employers.
You might be surprised – as I was – to learn this:
For instance, Kenya has one of the largest and most dynamic solar markets in the developing world. There are 10 major solar PV import companies, and the country has an estimated 1,000-2,000 solar technicians. In Bangladesh, Grameen Shakti has installed more than 100,000 solar home systems in rural communities in a few years-one of the fastest-growing solar PV programs in the world-and is aiming for 1 million by 2015, along with the creation of some 100,000 jobs for local youth and women as solar technicians and repair and maintenance specialists.
This story was also reported in the Christian Science Monitor’s ‘bright green blog’:
This article reports some additional details, such as the number of workers in the geothermal (25,000) and hydropower (39,000) sectors, and for comparison notes that 7 million are employed in the coal industry.
Finally, a number of people have asked me to comment on T. Boone Pickens’ new energy plan. I have started to look at it, and began to look at natural gas reserves in the U.S. to determine whether his proposal is realistic given our natural gas situation. But natural gas reserves are a very muddled picture, and it will take some time to sort it out. At first glance, as a proponent of more CNG vehicles, there are certainly aspects of the plan that I like. In the interim, I would point you to Geoff Styles’ excellent crique: A Man, A Plan.