European wind ‘boosting GDP and jobs but at risk’

The wind industry in Europe contributed €36 billion (£27bn) to the EU’s GDP last year. It also supported around 263,000 jobs, generated €8 billion (£6bn) of exports outside Europe and […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

The wind industry in Europe contributed €36 billion (£27bn) to the EU’s GDP last year.

It also supported around 263,000 jobs, generated €8 billion (£6bn) of exports outside Europe and saved 166 million tons of emissions, according to a new report from WindEurope.

The report suggests every €1,000 (£752) turnover generated in the wind industry generates €250 (£188) of economic activity in other sectors such as metals, chemicals, electrical equipment and machinery, construction and engineering.

However, it warns job growth in the industry has flat-lined in the last five years “as many countries have become less ambitious on renewables”, with half the EU member states investing nothing in wind last year.

Net exports of wind equipment are also falling due to “strong competition” from emerging economies – down from €3 billion (£2.3bn) in 2011 to €2.4 billion (£1.8bn) today.

Giles Dickson, WindEurope CEO said: “Wind is a smart choice for the economy. It’s a European industrial success story but it’s at risk. Clear and ambitious target and policies are essential to sustain the jobs and growth our industry supports.

“We need an EU renewables target of at least 35% by 2030. We need clarity on post-2020 volumes so the supply chain knows what to invest and where. We need R&D and industrial policies that help Europe maintain its technology lead and continue to export.”

He believes they could result in wind meeting 30% of Europe’s power needs in 2030.