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EWEA's Opinion

Wind power as part of this century’s green industrial revolution

04.02.2010

While many of society’s most complex issues were discussed at last week’s World Economic Forum in Davos, the subject of energy supply and how to better develop wind power and other renewables captivated many of the influential participants.

Most entrepreneurs and policy makers who attended the annual meeting in Switzerland already knew that nations and companies which quickly begin breaking the destructive and expensive cycle of oil dependence will almost certainly fare much better in the 21st century than those adopting the problematic business-as-usual approach to generating increasing amounts of energy for a growing population.

The Davos participants also knew that embracing the idea of a revolutionary new, green economy featuring wind power and other renewables -- which cast a much lighter carbon footprint than coal, oil and gas -- continues to make sense on a number of distinct yet inter-connected levels.

Politicians and business executives understand that, despite the recent failure of the UN climate change conference in Copenhagen, there is no doubt that man-made global warming caused by burning fossil fuels must be halted if our society is to continue as we know it today. They know that, in addition to dramatically reducing greenhouse gas emissions, a new green economy would also create tens of thousands of well paying jobs, a more sophisticated workforce steeped in research and development, and a great deal of money for forward-looking companies seeking to tap into expanding export opportunities. Lastly, but no less importantly, they also realize that dependable and local electricity generated from emissions-free wind power allows nations to spend less of importing dirty fuels and have much more control over their domestic energy supplies.

Indeed, the emerging green economy is “shaping up to be the Great Game of the 21st Century,” the International Herald Tribune said in a report from the Davos meeting.

“With the United States and China sizing each other up across the Pacific and Europe seeking to maintain its economic stature, it is a battle for potentially millions of jobs and trillions of dollars in export revenues,” the International Herald Tribune said. “The outcome — which pits a venture capital-driven market approach relying on government subsides against a top-down system of state capitalism — has the potential to influence how economic and political systems evolve.”

The newspaper also said the recent global recession “has focused attention on the job-creating potential of green technology, seen by many here as the next industrial revolution. In the energy sector alone, the deployment of new technologies, like wind and solar power, has the potential to support 20 million jobs by 2030 and trillions of dollars in revenue, analysts estimate.”

The European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) believes this message from Davos can only serve to underscore the many benefits that wind power, onshore and offshore, can help both developed and developing countries as they emerge from the greatest global economic setback since the Great Depression.

EWEA also believes that using an affordable and proven technology like wind power that is rapidly deployable can help the international community deal with climate change while providing the 21st century with increasing amounts of emissions-free electricity.

By Chris Rose, EWEA




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