WindEurope urged the 300,000 working in the European wind industry to get out and vote in upcoming EU elections, as fears grow over the rise of climate-sceptic political forces across the continent.

The lobbying group said a strong turnout is vital as the EU’s 28 member states – including the UK, which still hasn’t managed to exit the bloc – prepare for elections to the European Parliament later in May.

Launching a campaign under the banner of ‘For more renewables, vote in the European Parliament elections’, WindEurope pointed to the parliament’s track record as a “key enabler” of renewable energy.

The body’s CEO Giles Dickson said: “These elections are crucial for renewables. The current European Parliament fought for ambition and got a 32% renewable energy target for 2030. Delivering this would mean wind becomes Europe’s number-one source of electricity by 2027.

“But the growth of renewables is not inevitable. If there is low turnout in this month’s European Parliament elections, parties that are more sceptical about renewables could become very influential in the next five years. They could undermine all the progress Europe’s made so far.”

Climate-sceptical, populist parties have become a growing force in national elections in many EU states over recent years, notably in Germany, France, Poland and the Netherlands.

In Germany the strength of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party – currently running at 13% in opinion polls – has been one of the factors behind renewed caution there over introducing green measures.