In the midst of the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) annual conference, EWEA has released data showing that in recent years the European wind energy industry has grown twice as fast as the EU economy as a whole.
“Focusing on the role of wind power for our sustainable future makes good sense from both an environmental and an economic perspective,” Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark said.
“The green agenda is both about job creation in the short run and climate protection in the long run,” Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt said.
According to EWEA, the European wind industry contributed 33% more to EU GDP from 2007 to 2010. Wind energy was a big support in the midst of economic slowdown, providing a €32 billion boost in 2010 alone.
European Wind Energy Stats and Projections
Aside from the above, here are some more salient stats and projections from EWEA:
- The sector created 30% more jobs from 2007 to 2010 to reach nearly 240,000, while EU unemployment rose by 9.6% . By 2020, there should be 520,000 jobs in the sector.
- The sector was a net exporter of €5.7 billion worth of goods and services in 2010
- The sector avoided €5.71 billion of fuel costs in 2010
- The sector invested 5% of its spending in R&D — three times more than the EU average. Wind turbine manufacturers commit around 10% of their total turnover to R&D.
- By 2020 wind’s contribution to GDP will have increased almost three-fold.
- If the wind industry were a Member State, it would rank 19th in 2020 in terms of its contribution to EU GDP, above Slovakia and just below Hungary.
- The number of jobs will go up by over 200% to reach 520,000 by 2020, according to the report.
- By 2030, the number of jobs could go up to 795,000.
“Transforming the energy system makes economic sense,” EU Commissioner for Energy Günther Oettinger.
“Wind energy is a recession-busting industry. It is countering the recession — providing increasing economic activity, more jobs and exports every year to an EU struggling with an economic crisis intensified by ever increasing amounts of fuel being imported at rising costs to European citizens,” said Arthouros Zervos, President of EWEA.
European Wind Industry Policy Needs
Of course, to prosper as it could, the European wind industry needs appropriate policy support. In particular, EWEA is calling for:
- Stable national renewable energy frameworks, and ambitious implementation of 2020 requirements at national level.
- A post-2020 energy policy with a binding renewables target for 2030.
- A joined up European power grid and single energy market.
- A more ambitious 30% greenhouse gas reduction target for 2020.
- Sufficient and dedicated EU funding for wind energy research.