In a world confronted with the pressures of ever-encroaching climate change, a looming energy crisis, and no obvious ticket out of the recession, wind energy is emerging as a leading technology with the power to combat this triple-layered crisis. In both 2008 and 2009, more wind power capacity was installed than any other power generating technology, including coal, gas and nuclear.
Today, Germany remains at the top of the league for wind-related jobs. In 2008, a total of 36,249 jobs were directly linked to wind energy, and some 48,051 jobs were indirectly linked to the sector. Spain – where wind meets an average of 12% of the country’s electricity demand – comes second in the list with 20,781 direct jobs and a total of 37,730 indirect jobs (2008 figures from the Spanish Wind Energy Association). Denmark – where wind energy meets 21% of the country’s total electricity demand – 23,500 jobs were directly attributed to the sector (2007 figures).
External pressures, including climate change, the energy crisis and the need for jobs, as well as intense interest in wind power from within the energy industry, means that wind turbines and wind farm related employment will continue to grow across Europe. Moreover, there could be an increase in the opportunities for workers in European companies to work abroad as foreign energy markets take-up wind power. European companies – already endowed with wind know-how – are likely to expand their operations overseas in the near future.
From a small-scale power generating technology just a few decades ago, the growth in wind power is elevating the industry to the level of a main-stream power generation technology.