Wind energy sector growing over twice as fast as EU economy

Quotes from the opening session at EWEA 2012 Annual Event in Copenhagen:

”The green agenda is both about job creation in the short run and climate protection in the long run”.
Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, Denmark

“Transforming the energy system makes economic sense”.
EU Commissioner for Energy Günther Oettinger.

The wind energy industry increased its contribution to the EU’s gross domestic product (GDP) by 33% between 2007 and 2010. In 2010, the industry’s growth was twice that of the EU’s GDP overall, with the sector contributing €32 billion to an EU economy in slowdown.

Key figures from the ‘Green Growth’ report released today by the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) include:

– The wind energy sector contributed €32 billion to EU GDP in 2010
– The sector’s contribution to GDP grew by 33% from 2007 to 2010
– 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.

“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.

In future the wind energy sector is set to do even more: by 2020 its contribution to GDP will have increased almost three-fold. If the 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, and the number of jobs will go up by over 200% to reach 520,000 by then, says the report. By 2030 the number of jobs could go up to 795,000.

However, to ensure wind energy brings the increased economic benefits it should in future, certain things are needed:

– 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

“EWEA’s new report shows that wind energy has become a significant factor for jobs and growth in Europe”, commented Felix Ferlemann, CEO of Siemens Wind Power.