In 2017, 263,883 people were employed in the environmental sector in Germany, which was about 12,600 more than in the previous year. Although this means that the amount of so-called “green jobs” saw a slight rise in Germany, the stagnating wind industry continues to hamper growth.
As announced on Tuesday (22 October) by Germany’s Federal Statistical Office, more than two-thirds of the so-called “green” jobs were in the manufacturing sector.
Most people worked in mechanical engineering, a sector in which wind turbines, as well as energy-efficient drive and control technologies, are manufactured.
The building sector came in second, with around 45,000 people doing work related to the thermal insulation of buildings or the construction of sewerage systems.
Almost 15% of the jobs – 37,947 in total – were in the services sector, where nearly half of the employees worked “green jobs” in architecture and engineering firms, according to Destatis.
However, the figures of the Federal Statistical Office differ significantly from those of Germany’s Environment Agency, which projects that more than 2.8 million people had so-called “green” jobs in 2017.
According to the environment agency, the number of “green” jobs in Germany is growing steadily and has increased by 130,000 between 2014 and 2017. The agency’s statistics are significantly higher as they included more sectors, including energy and water supply, transport, agriculture and forestry.
The green sector’s growth appears to be rather slight due to the loss of jobs in the wind sector. According to the German Wind Energy Association, over 25,000 jobs were lost in this sector between 2016 and 2017. According to IG Metall, another 10,000 people working in the industry had lost their jobs since then.
The expansion of wind farms has been faltering for years. Auctions in which subsidies for the construction of wind farms were heavily capped until 2018, and wind farms partly financed by citizens had problems obtaining loans.
Besides, the financial support provided by the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG) for existing wind turbines will expire in 2021, even though the German government decided in November 2018 to increase the number of auctions for subsidies to include wind turbines worth a total capacity of 4,000 megawatts for this year and next.
But many projects are subject to approval procedures, some of which may take years.