The European Union said that it aims to become the world’s number one in renewables. In line with this ambition, in October 2014, EU leadership set a goal of 27 percent of the block’s energy consumption in 2030 to be covered by green resources. However, this objective is not binding on national level, which has cast a shadow on how the target will be met. The latest data of the International Renewable Energy Agency suggest that the number of renewable energy jobs in the EU actually dropped last year although it increased worldwide by 18 percent to 7.7 million. In the EU, five countries – Germany, France, Italy, Spain, and the UK – account for about 70 percent of all green energy jobs.
The agency reports that the EU lost 50,000 renewable jobs – a drop from 1.25 million to 1.2 million. The solar energy sector was hit the most with about 35 percent of jobs lost, which was a result of “a sharp decrease in overall investment as well as adverse policy conditions,” the report explained. Investment in renewable energy throughout the block grew by less than one percent last year despite favorable developments worldwide mostly led by China and the United States. Analysts comment that growing markets in Asia, Africa or South America simply have more potential to create jobs. According to the United Nations Environment Program, renewable energy investment globally rose by 17 percent to €290 billion marking the first funding increase for three years.
?Despite the negative news for the EU, the Commission defends the block’s renewable industry saying that the EU still had twice more renewable jobs per capita than the global average. Between 2008 and 2013, the number of jobs in the industry went up by 43 percent in the EU despite the economic crisis. Moreover, the Commission’s 2011 data suggest that the EU’s share in the global renewable energy patents is roughly 40 percent.