The meeting, which included Poul Nyrup Rasmussen, president of the Party of European Socialists (PES), Chairman of Lindoe Offshore Renewable Centre and former Prime Minister of Denmark, emphasised the enormous potential to create new jobs in wind energy and other renewable energy technologies during a debate facilitated by the Financial Times’ Environment Correspondent Fiona Harvey.
By the end of 2009, the wind energy sector employed 192,000 people in Europe. In addition, European companies employ tens of thousands of people outside of Europe.
“The European Wind Energy Association expects strong growth in wind energy employment in Europe over the coming years to 280,000 by 2015 and 450,000 by 2020. That’s on average, 450 new European wind energy jobs per week over the next decade” said Christian Kjaer, Chief executive of the European Wind Energy Association.
Three key areas - offshore wind, electricity grids, and the training and education of more engineers and technical staff - were identified as critical to creating those new jobs.
The coming years will see the development of a new offshore wind industry. Existing and planned European offshore wind projects would, if implemented, supply 10% of Europe's electricity. Employment in offshore is expected to exceed onshore by 2025, and by 2030, over 60% of the total employment in wind energy is expected to be in offshore wind energy.