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European wind industry contributes billions to EU’s GDP

New report, ‘Local Impact, Global Leadership’ by Deloitte for WindEurope and published last week shows the European wind industry contributed €36 billion to the EU’s GDP in 2016, supporting 263,000 jobs and generating €8 billion of exports outside of Europe.

The report presented at the WindEurope Conference & Exhibition in Amsterdam also concluded that European wind energy avoided the importation of €32 billion in fossil fuels between 2011 and 2016, and CO2 emissions of 166 million tonnes in 2016 alone.

The report’s authors also concluded that for every €1,000 of turnover generated in the wind industry, €250 of economic activity was created in other sectors such as metals, chemicals, electrical equipment and machinery, construction and engineering. The sector also brings quality jobs, with 82% of the 263,000 jobs being high-skilled.

“Wind is a smart choice for the economy. It’s a European industrial success story, comments Giles Dickson, WindEurope CEO.

However, he has also issued a stark warning: “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. If all this happens, wind could meet 30% of Europe’s power needs in 2030 and we’d generate more jobs and growth for the economy. But if it doesn’t, Europe will miss out on €92bn of investments and 132,000 jobs: that’s the cost of non-ambition”.

His view was echoed by Enercon’s Managing Director Hans-Dieter Kettwig: “Wind energy is making major contributions to economies on a national and international level. The main requirement for the wind industry and green, sustainable growth in Europe is a stable, reliable and long-term political framework post-2020. Visibility is crucial to industrial planning. When we see significant volumes in a market or a region, we invest in the supply chain as it provides economies of scale”.