More than 400,000 new European jobs from wind power and other renewables by 2020
Politicians who are worried that implementing the European Union’s new climate legislation will become too costly during the ongoing global financial crisis should take heart from a report released earlier this week. The report shows that the shift to renewables will benefit the economy, the environment and energy security.
Prepared for the European Commission’s Directorate-General for energy and transport, the report shows that gross domestic product in the EU will actually increase by nearly 0.25% if the 27-nation trading bloc realises its target and generates 20% of its energy from wind power and other renewables by 2020.
The report also shows that 410,000 new net jobs will be created in the European energy sector in the next 12 years as a result of the shift to renewables, which in 2005 already employed 1.4 million people with a gross value added of €58 billion.
The EU sector could support about 2.8 million workers and create a gross added value of approximately €129 billion by 2020 if the renewables targets are met and support policies are accelerated.
Commenting on the report, Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs said: “This shows that benefits of renewables in terms of security of supply and fighting climate change can go hand in hand with economic benefits”.
The report notes that two objectives for increasing the share of renewables are the reduction of CO₂ emissions and the current dependency on imported fossil fuels for energy supply.
“It is often stressed that these two key energy policy objectives, security of supply and environmental sustainability, should be targeted without sacrificing the third one – economic sustainability,” the report concludes. “It is therefore of immense value that increasing the share of [renewables] not only does not harm the economy but actually benefits it by creating jobs and increasing GDP.”
The European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) believes this report should forever put to rest a small but persistent chorus of political voices arguing against the full acceptance of renewables based on an incorrect premise.
Methodically conducted beyond the orbit of vested interests, the report thoroughly explores the relationship between green jobs in a moribund economy, an environment gasping under 150 years of greenhouse gas emissions, and securing dependable, local, sustainable and affordable energy supplies.
Its verdict is simple and unequivocal: wind power and other renewables will provide significant benefits to society in the coming years. EWEA applauds this conclusion and hopes hesitant policy makers now embrace the growing renewables sector before it is too late. The economy won’t disappear; Earth, at least as humans know it, just might.