Clean and renewable energy has continued to gain worldwide importance and is growing at a rapid rate in today's society. Globally, almost 10 million people were employed by the renewable energy sector in 2016 alone. According to reports from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), that is a 1.1% increase from the number employed in 2015. The report indicates that the main employers in renewable energy were the United States, China, India, Brazil, and Germany, with most jobs coming from the solar power sector. Additionally, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that wind turbine service technician is the fastest-growing occupation in the United States.
International investors have noticed the high rate of renewable energy use in homes and businesses. With help from technological advances, renewable energy stocks, once considered risky, have now been given more consideration from shareholders. Although U.S. investment in the renewable energy sector is slowing growing, China and India are the leaders in energy investment, accounting for 28% of the market. Over a third of these investments are going specifically towards solar and wind energy.
In addition to growth in employment and investments in renewable energy, cities around the world have taken pledges to commit to 100% clean and renewable energy use in the near future. The Qinghai province in China has conducted successful trials running on 100% renewable energy for seven days straight, supplying clean energy to more than 5.6 million residents. However, this province is not the first place to run on 100% renewable energy—Costa Rica ran on clean energy for 285 days in 2015. Additionally, Austria's largest state claims that 100% of its electricity is now generated from renewable energy sources.
Although it is still early to fully anticipate the direction of investments in renewable energy, more and more major industries and investors have taken interest in this action.