21 May, 2012
European leaders meeting on 23 May to discuss how to achieve growth despite massive budgetary challenges must turn to wind energy for immediate job-creating and economic benefits.
Every EU citizen is paying more than EUR700 for energy imports and this is increasing as prices climb and domestic resources deplete. But wind energy replaces imported fuel – saving EUR 5.7 billion in 2010 alone – while creating growth. www.ewea.org/greengrowth
In 2010, the wind energy sector’s growth rate was twice that of EU GDP, and as overall unemployment rose between 2007 and 2010, over 50 new jobs were created in the European wind industry daily.
“EU funds must be leveraged, for example through the European Investment Bank (EIB) and by potentially using structural funds, towards technologies that can make a significant and immediate impact on jobs, while reducing Europe’s fuel import bill. Onshore wind energy offers the greatest short-term stimulus potential, followed by offshore wind energy and investments in electricity infrastructure”, said Christian Kjaer, CEO of the European Wind Energy Association.
Wind energy and its benefits must also be prioritised in the EU’s 2014 to 2020 budget, currently under discussion. More R&D funding is needed under Horizon 2020 to bring costs down and allow wind energy to reach its potential, and two-thirds of the EUR 9.1 billion for energy networks should be allocated to electricity. This will allow more renewables onto the system, decreasing the need for fuel imports, increasing security of supply and bringing down power prices.
More on wind energy’s contribution to growth: www.ewea.org/greengrowth