On 1 February WindEurope CEO Giles Dickson participated in the kick-off meeting of the EU Industrial Forum. The Forum brings together all 27 EU Member States, the EU Commission and other stakeholders to consider how the EU can support its strategic industrial eco-systems.
The EU needs a proactive renewables industrial strategy to reach climate neutrality by 2050. Wind will contribute a big chunk to reaching this goal – the Commission expect wind to be half of Europe’s electricity by 2050. And building more wind farms will also support Europe’s economic recovery. Each new wind turbine generates on average €10m of economic activity.
And wind creates jobs. The wind industry already employs 300,000 people. If Governments deliver their commitments to expand renewables this will be 450,000 by 2030. But for Europe’s energy transition to be supported by European companies and jobs, our companies need to remain competitive.
To ensure this the EU needs to implement a robust Industrial Strategy focusing on:
- investments in R&D. These investments should not only go to next generation renewables. We also need continuous innovation in today’s technologies such as onshore wind to keep them competitive;
- the right trade policies. Affordable energy needs open markets which are necessary for the import of key components and materials – and the export high value-added finished products;
- policies and instruments that mobilise finance by crowding in low-cost private finance
- proactive workforce development. Green jobs are skilled jobs. Qualifications have to reflect industry needs and be recognised across borders. We need to re-skill those transitioning out of fossil industries to ensure a Just Transition.
WindEurope’s CEO Giles Dickson said: “The EU Industrial Strategy must help sustain the competitiveness of Europe’s renewable companies. A strong domestic renewables sector won’t just form the foundation for our energy transition. It will create jobs and support economic recovery.”