Global wind jobs up 11% in 2013

WORLDWIDE: The number of people employed in the wind industry worldwide grew by 11% in 2013, but with shifts in employment towards emerging markets.

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The Renewable Energy Jobs Annual Review from the International Renewable Energy Agency found that 834,000 people were employed in the industry at the end of the year, up from 753,000 a year earlier.

China provided the largest portion of those jobs, with 365,000 people employed in the sector, up from 267,000. Conversely, US wind employment dropped off from 80,700 in December 2012 to just 50,500 jobs at the end of 2013.

The European Union employed 328,000 wind workers, which was higher than the 270,000 figure from 2012. Brazilian jobs in the wind industry hit 32,000, up from 29,000 a year previously.

"Regional shifts from developed to emerging countries continued in wind and solar technologies, predominantly in the manufacturing and installation segments of the value chain," the report said.

The report found that although the declining price of wind turbines is "introducing new challenges for suppliers and affecting manufacturing jobs", they are also driving employment growth in installation and operations and maintenance.

In offshore wind, Europe accounted for the bulk of global employment with 58,000 jobs. The UK was the global leader followed by Germany.

The report reinforced the idea that there is a skills shortage in some regions. It said that there is currently an annual shortage of 7,000 qualified personnel in the European wind energy sector. This figure could more than double to 15,000 by 2030 unless the number of relevant graduates rises, the report warned.

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