Clean Power

Published on April 18th, 2012 | by Zachary Shahan


European Wind Sector Grew Twice as Fast as EU Economy

April 18th, 2012 by  


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.

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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.

For more, you can read the full EWEA report, and you can follow the latest news from the EWEA conference on the EWEA site.


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About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) with the power of the typed word. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor, but he's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession, Solar Love, and Bikocity. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and energy storage expert. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in.

  • Luke

    Yep, the renewable energy sector has to be one of the few industries that continues to grow at these kinds of rates. FOX News & the GOP may not acknowledge their existence, but the European Union is doing a stunning job of encouraging renewable energy and tackling climate change – over and above any other governmental organization right now.

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