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Wind News: Over 250,000 new jobs forecast for wind energy industry by 2020 (New Energy Focus)

2010-06-14

The European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) has today (June 14) announced that it expects to see "strong growth" in the European wind energy industry over the next decade, with over 250,000 new jobs created.

And, the trade body has also published its forecast for wind power installations in 2010, predicting the UK will closely follow Germany as the largest market this year.

Both announcements have been timed to coincide with Global Wind Day, which takes place tomorrow (June 15) and will see over 198 events take place in at least 26 countries.

According to the trade body, the belief that the wind sector can make a serious contribution to green growth was backed by politicians of the left and right and trade unionists at a high-level meeting held yesterday (June 13) in Brussels.

At the meeting, Poul Nyrup Rasmussen, chair of Lindoe Offshore Renewable Centre and former Prime Minister of Denmark; Maria da Graça Carvalho, MEP and former Science minister of Portugal; and Anne Panneels, senior advisor for the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), all emphasised the "enormous potential" to create new jobs in wind energy and other renewable energy technologies during a debate facilitated by the Financial Times' environment correspondent Fiona Harvey.

Employment

According to EWEA figures, the wind energy sector had employed 192,000 people in Europe by the end of 2009, with "tens of thousands" of additional people from outside of Europe employed by European companies.

The trade association expects this to grow to 280,000 employees by 2015 and then 450,000 by 2020.
Christian Kjaer, chief executive of the EWEA, said: "The European Wind Energy Association expects strong growth in wind energy employment in Europe over the coming years to 280,000 by 2015 and 450,000 by 2020.

"That's on average, 450 new European wind energy jobs per week over the next decade."

Three key areas including offshore wind, the electricity grid and the training and education of more engineers and technical staff were identified as critical to creating those new jobs.

Mr Rasmussen said: "Only if we continue to install large amounts of renewable energy in the EU and support pilot projects of new technologies will European renewable energy companies be able to compete.
"Offshore wind has the largest growth potential and needs to receive stronger public support from and within the European Union".

Ms Graça Carvalho claimed that the "green revolution"was only the latest in a number of technological and economic revolutions in Europe's history and that the crucial factors are whether or not Europe will be able to develop "top-end" skills in research and the fields of technical maintenance.

She added: "With regards to jobs, a decentralised renewable energy based economy will generate more employment than an excessively rationalised and centralised system."

Turbine market

The EWEA has also today published its forecast for wind power installations in 2010, predicting 10GW of new wind power capacity to be installed in the EU during the year.

This would take total installed capacity by the end of 2010 to almost 85GW - an increase of 13%.
Last year saw 10.163GW of new wind power capacity installed, constituting 39% of all new power capacity installed in the EU that year, claims the trade body. Total installed wind power capacity by the end of 2009 stood at 74.767GW.

Commenting on the forecast, Mr Kjaer said: "We predict another strong year for wind turbine installations in Europe, repeating the high level achieved in 2009.

"What is encouraging is that, unlike in 2009, the 2010 results consist of orders placed after the start of the financial crisis. This shows continued and strong investor confidence in the technology."

He added that it is too early to say whether, for a third year running, there will be more wind energy capacity installed than any other electricity generating technology, but claimed it is clear that wind energy will be "competing for the top spot" with new gas power plants.

Offshore

In the offshore wind power market, the EWEA expects 2010 to see more installations, with up to 1GW of new capacity expected to be installed during the year compared to 577MW installed in 2009.

EWEA predicts Germany will be the largest market this year, closely followed by the UK, and claims France and Italy will again install around 1GW each in 2010.

The trade body also notes that a "significant growth" in the UK will make up for the expected decline in installations in Spain, along with a doubling of installations in the new member states - led by Romania and Bulgaria.

Read the complete article here.