Almost two million people are working in the hydropower industry globally, a new jobs report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has found, making it the third largest renewables employer behind solar photovoltaic and liquid biofuels.
Of the 11.5 million people employed by all renewable industries in 2019, 1.93 million people were directly employed in hydropower, with China, Brazil, the United States and Canada listed at the top employers.
However, the report – Renewable Energy and Jobs - Annual Review 2020 – noted that hydropower employment in 2019 was around six per cent lower than in 2018, as growth slowed and new projects were delayed in several countries. This figuresis expected to fall further for 2020 as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic delaying construction projects.
“This report underlines hydropower’s global significance as a major renewable sector employer as well as the urgent need to invest in new and sustainable hydropower projects,” Eddie Rich, Chief Executive of the International Hydropower Association (IHA) commented in response to the report. “Since the Covid-19 pandemic hit, IHA has highlighted the centrality of sustainable hydropower as part of the green recovery.
“IRENA estimates an additional 850 GW of newly installed hydropower capacity is needed by 2050 to help achieve the carbon reduction commitments of the Paris Agreement. This could generate an additional 600,000 skilled jobs over the next decade.
"To achieve this will require concerted action including improved financial incentives and compensation for the flexibility and resilience services provided by hydropower. The green economic stimulus packages begin announced around the world give us the opportunity to make this goal a reality.”