Wind and Work, Wind Energy Jobs

Renewable Energy as a whole has become a great opportunity for employment. IRENA’s Renewable Energy and Jobs – Annual Review second edition, estimates that renewable energy employed 7.7 million people, directly or indirectly, around the world in 2014 (excluding large hydropower). This is an 18% increase from the number reported the previous year.

The measurement of jobs within a particular sector, by economists, include examination of three distinct types of jobs:

  • Direct jobs (eg jobs installing solar PV)
  • Indirect jobs (eg jobs manufacturing aluminum to make the racking) and
  • Induced jobs (eg jobs generated when solar workers spend their earnings in restaurants, bookshops or sports arenas).

All jobs are counted as person-years of employment, so one job means one person working full-time for a year, or two people working part-time. A permanent job is an ongoing, year-to-year job.


Solar PV takes the honor of being the largest renewable employment sector with 2.5 million jobs globally. Liquid biofuels rang in with 1.8 million jobs, and wind power surpassed 1 million jobs for the first time. The employment increase extends across the renewable energy spectrum with solar, wind, biofuels, biomass, biogas and small hydropower all seeing increases in employment.

The 10 countries with the largest renewable energy employment were China, Brazil, the United States, India, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, France, Bangladesh and Colombia.

IRENA[1] shows wind employment passed the 1 million mark worldwide in 2014. China leads the pack with a surge to 502k wind energy jobs. China is followed by Germany at 138k, the United States at 73k, India at 48k and Brazil at 36k wind energy jobs.  The remainder of the EU (outside of Germany) had 182k wind jobs all together.

According to CanWEA’s Wind Facts [2], 2015 saw an addition of 10,500 wind energy related jobs in Canada.

In looking specifically at Wind Energy jobs, the occupations in this sector are primarily found in operations and maintenance, manufacturing, construction and sales. The European Wind Energy Association identifies manufacturing as having the most opportunity. Most literature on the wind industry identify wind turbine maintenance technician as an emerging new job. Although there is no standard certification for this type of job, there are a number of courses and programs available to develop the new skills associated with this position. Representative jobs in wind power include electrical tradesperson, construction worker, general construction laborer, heavy equipment operator, operations manager, technical sales person, electricity sales person, marketing specialist, manufacturing plant worker, and turbine maintenance worker. [3]

There are many factors that impact the number of jobs in the renewable industries, like Wind. Below are some of the top influencers.

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If you would like to be involved in the Wind Energy Industry, or simply want to stay abreast of the latest news, find out how to do it here: 




[3] Niagara Workforce Planning Board, “Green Opportunities: Occupations in the Wind Industry”. March 2010. Niagara Workforce Planning Board. Page 6.