The wind energy industry contributed $32 billion Euros to the European Union’s (EU) gross domestic product (GDP) between 2007 and 2010. In addition, the industry grew more than twice that of the EU’s GDP overall. The information is part of the ‘Green Growth‘ report that was released today during the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) International Conference.
The report also determined that the number of people employed in the wind energy industry increased by 30 percent from 2007 to 2010 with approximately 240,000 people employed in the field. It is estimated that there will be nearly 520,000 jobs in the sector by 2020.
The industry was a net exporter of 5.7 billion Euros worth of goods and services in 2010 while the energy created avoided 5.71 billion euros of fuel costs in the same year. In addition, the industry invested approximately 5 percent of its spending back into research and development (R&D), while on average, wind turbine manufacturers invested close to 10 percent of their revenue back to R&D.
“Wind energy is a recession-busting industry,” said Arthouros Zervos, President of EWEA. “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.”
To ensure the continued growth of the industry, Green Growth states that several things must happen including stable national renewable energy frameworks; 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 percent greenhouse gas reduction target for 2020; and sufficient and dedicated EU funding for wind energy research.