In these somewhat gloomy economic times, the renewable energy sector continues to be a hotbed of activity and offers the promise of playing an integral part of stimulating economies.
International finance group Credit Suisse has estimated that worldwide energy demand is expected to increase 50% by 5050. Given the rapidly increasing demand, the alternative energy sector is currently experiencing double digit growth, mostly within the wind power and solar energy industries. While these source only constitute a small portion of the total renewable energy market today – just over 7%, some expect wind and solar to contribute more than 25% to renewable energy by 2030.
Speaking at the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi, the secretary general of the Global Wind Energy Council said that regardless of the current financial crisis, one million people will be employed in the global wind-power industry by the end of the decade, up from 400,000 today. According to some projections, up to 3 million people could be employed within the industry by 2050.
The wind power sector maintained a near 30% annual growth rate in 2008 and while some vexing challenges are needed to be overcome due to the current economic environment, such as the availability of financing for the construction of wind farms, the sector is overall confident for continued success this year.
The coal industry often laments the loss of jobs if a phase out of the heavily polluting fossil fuel technology were undertaken and uses that point aggressively as a means of protecting their sector, but as was demonstrated in the case with the computer revolution where many also feared mass unemployment, it’s simply the type of jobs that will change. The renewable energy sector is providing workers from a variety of trades the opportunity of re-skilling and has the capacity to provide many millions of people with fulfilling work in a green industry.