Report: Wind Power Industry To Create New Jobs

Jan 21 2009 | 11:28am ET

The wind power industry will employ about 325,000 people in the European Union by 2020—more than twice the current total—according to a report issued yesterday by the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA).

The report, “Wind at Work – wind energy and job creation in the EU,” says the European wind energy sector has created 33 new jobs a day for the past five years. In 2007, wind energy increased more than any other power generating technology in the EU, and the growth in installed wind capacity has been matched by an increase in related jobs: the sector employed 154,000 people in 2007, 108,600 directly.

“‘Wind at Work’ reveals the vast potential of the wind energy industry as a source of employment that can bring real long-term benefits to European economies,” Christian Kjaer, EWEA chief executive, told journalists.

The report shows turbine manufacturers are the main employers in the industry, responsible for 37% of all direct jobs, followed by component manufacturers and project developers.

Three ‘pioneer’ EU states – Denmark, Germany and Spain – accounted for 75% of all direct wind energy jobs, says the EWEA, but countries like France, the UK and Italy are beginning to catch up.

The EU expects to generate about 12% of its electricity from wind power by 2020, as part of its efforts to combat climate change and lessen dependence on gas and oil imports.

Kjaer says the sector provides an attractive risk profile for investors who recently lost money through risky investments and it will be one of the first to recover from the economic crisis.

"There will be a market for medium-risk, medium-return investments, and that's where the wind sector is," he told journalists.

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