The European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) is calling on European leaders to consider wind power as a key driver for job and wealth creation in their Informal Dinner of Heads of State or Government in Brussels on Wednesday.
“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,” says EWEA.
The trade association highlights that every EU citizen is paying more than €700 for energy imports and this is increasing as prices climb and domestic resources deplete. But wind energy replaces imported fuel - saving €5.7 billion in 2010 alone, while creating growth.
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 €9.1 billion for energy networks should be allocated to electricity,” says EWEA. “This will allow more renewables onto the system, decreasing the need for fuel imports, increasing security of supply and bringing down power prices.”
The EU's heads of state or government will come together for the informal working dinner, essentially with a view to preparing the next European Council meeting scheduled for 28 and 29 June.