EU wind power reduces energy imports while creating jobs

Mon, 11 June 2012

Wind energy can create economic activity and jobs, while saving money – that’s one of the conclusions Christian Kjaer, CEO of the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA), reached in an opinion article published 22 May.

Kjaer also said in the Windpower Monthly article that wind energy could be the ideal catalyst to create jobs while reducing Europe’s energy imports. He added every EU citizen is currently paying more than €700 for energy imports.

“This is increasing as Europe’s fossil fuel production drops and prices climb,” he said. “That money would be better spent deploying domestic renewable technologies: reducing imports while reaping the economic benefits of exports.”

Kjaer added that according to a recent EWEA report — ‘Green Growth: the impact of wind energy on jobs and the economy’ — the wind energy sector’s growth rate in 2010 was twice that of EU GDP.

From 2007 to 2010 the sector’s contribution to GDP went up by 33%, reaching €32.4 billion, he said. “As EU employment fell by 9.6% from 2007 to 2010, direct and indirect wind energy jobs in Europe went up 30% to nearly 240,000. Over 50 new jobs were created in the sector daily.”

Kjaer said that by 2020, the European wind sector could create 520,000 jobs, and its GDP could increase almost three-fold to reach nearly €94.5 bn by 2020.

Today, leaders need to avoid abrupt, and especially retroactive, changes to the ways in which renewable energy is supported, he continued, so that investors know they can count on that support.

Kjaer said that includes an ambitious and binding 2030 renewables target as part of a legal framework post-2020, necessary grid infrastructure improvements and the development of a functioning European electricity market.

Policy makers in European Union institutions received EWEA’s Green Growth report in the run up to the EU Summit held in May to discuss measures required to help the region’s economy struggling with ongoing debt issues.

EWEA launched the report during its annual wind energy conference and exhibition in April in Copenhagen.

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