IRENA: Bioenergy accounted for 3.58M jobs globally in 2019

By Erin Voegele | September 29, 2020

Jobs in the renewable energy sector reached 11.5 million globally in 2019, according to a report released by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) on Sept. 29. Bioenergy accounted for 3.58 million jobs, up from 3.18 million in 2018.

According to the report, liquid biofuels accounted for 2.475 million jobs, while solid biomass accounted for 764,000, biogas accounted for 342,000 and municipal and industrial waste accounted for 39,000.

Solid biofuels accounted for 3.4 percent of installed renewable energy capacity worldwide last year, while biogas accounted for 0.8 percent and renewable municipal waste accounted for 0.6 percent.

Of the 764,000 solid biomass jobs worldwide, the EU accounted for 392,000, China accounted for 188,000, India accounted for 58,000 and the U.S. accounted for 51,000. Of the 342,000 global biogas jobs, China accounted for 145,000, India accounted for 85,000, the EU accounted for 75,000 and the U.S. accounted for 7,000.

The report estimates 756,000 renewable energy jobs in the U.S. as of 2019. That includes the 51,000 jobs in solid biomass and the 7,000 jobs in biogas.

The bioenergy sector is the largest renewables employer in the European Union. Solid biomass, including for use in heat and electricity, leads with approximately 392,400 jobs. Biogas accounted for 74,900 jobs, while liquid biofuels accounted for 239,000. Total renewable energy jobs in the EU reached 1.317 million last year.

Spain had an estimated 81,294 renewable energy jobs last year. Biomass was the country’s highest employing renewables sector, at 32,300 jobs. Solid biomass was also the largest renewable energy employer in France, accounting for 31,100 jobs.  

A full copy of the report can be downloaded from the IRENA website.