The wind energy sector grew at twice the rate of the European economy as a whole in 2010, but tougher CO2 reductions and renewables targets are needed to ensure continued investment
The European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) has called on EU policymakers to increase carbon reduction targets for 2020 from 20% to 30% and to set legally binding renewable energy targets for 2030, a decade beyond existing goals.
After revealing that the wind sector generated €32 billion for EU economy and grew 4.1% in 2010, more than twice EU GDP growth at 2%, the EWEA argues that greater political support and a single energy market is needed to ensure it can continue to grow.
According to the EWEA’s analysis, during 2010 the European renewable wind industry exported €5.7 billion-worth of goods and services, and enabled the EU to avoid spending €5.71 billion on fossil fuels, as well as enabling significant carbon emissions reductions.
“Wind energy is a recession-busting industry,” claimed EWEA president Arthouros Zervos. “It is providing increasing economic activity, more jobs and exports every year to an EU struggling with an economic crisis.”
The EWEA predicts that by 2020 the sector could employ 520,000 workers across the bloc, treble its contribution to GDP and deliver 31% of the EU’s existing 20% carbon emissions reduction target, or 20% of a higher 30% target.
However, it concludes that the higher 30% reduction target is “crucial to direct investments towards a sector” and that joined up infrastructure and stable national renewable energy frameworks are needed to ensure the sector’s future.
The calls came as Korean turbine manufacturer, Doosan, announced it was halting plans to build a £170-million research and development centre in Glasgow, stating that poor economic conditions in Europe and falling confidence in the sector placed a “question mark over the future development of the offshore wind market”.