The UAE is moving towards potentially creating up to 100,000 jobs in the renewable energy sector by 2030.
That is according to Nawal Al Hosany, the UAE’s permanent representative to the International Renewable Energy Agency, which held its 15th council meeting in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.
Ms Al Hosany said the 2030 figure was based on current estimates. But it was not just about boosting renewable energy but also creating opportunities for young people and other sectors as the UAE seeks to possibly have 30 per cent of all power generation from clean sources by 2030.
"This is not new for the UAE. We started this in 2006 when we launched Masdar," she told The National. "Having renewables and clean technology as a new sector … is very important and key to our progress."
Commenting on the growing awareness of the importance of recycling among the public and moves to remove plastic straws from restaurants, she said that addressing waste has always been a priority for the Government. But it is important to implement this in a gradual way to encourage people.
“It’s a more successful model. In 2006 we launched Masdar, we have invested in awareness and we have 'sustainability week' every year. We have launched lots of programmes in schools so the youth are very aware of recycling. And we have started to build infrastructure for recycling in different emirates to handle recycling.”
Her remarks came on the sidelines of the Irena meeting where it was revealed that jobs in the renewable energy industry worldwide soared by 500,000 last year to reach 10.3 million — a 5.3 per cent increase on 2016.
The Irena report — Renewable Energy and Jobs Annual Review — showed the number of jobs created had passed the 10m mark for the first time and leading the charge are China, Brazil, the US, India, Germany and Japan where 70 per cent of the jobs have been created. Sixty per cent of all renewable energy jobs are in Asia, the report revealed.
The solar industry accounted for most of the jobs at 3.4 million, with China alone estimated to account for two thirds of these. China was followed by Japan, the US, India and Bangladesh.
China accounts for 44 per cent of global wind employment, while half of the top ten countries with the largest installed capacity of wind power are European.
“Renewable energy has become a pillar of low-carbon economic growth for governments all over the world, a fact reflected by the growing number of jobs created in the sector,” said Adnan Amin, director general of Irena.
“This data also underscores an increasingly regionalised picture, highlighting that in countries where attractive policies exist, the economic, social and environmental benefits of renewable energy are most evident,” he said. “This data supports our analysis that decarbonisation of the global energy system can grow the global economy and create up to 28 million jobs in the sector by 2050.”
The meeting heard from delegations across the world on Tuesday including Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Germany. It concludes on Wednesday.