The wind sector should be recognised as a job creator, and stand out as a so-called ‘strategic value chain’ in its own right when the European Commission launches its Industrial Strategy this month, WindEurope said.
The strategy will be a first test of whether the European Green Deal launched in December will genuinely become the EU’s new growth strategy, as commission president Ursula von der Leyen had described, the continent-wide lobbying group reckons.
“The EU needs five times more wind than it has today to go climate neutral. The question is: will these turbines be made in Europe?,” WindEurope chief executive Giles Dickson said.
“The European Green Deal can be the EU’s growth strategy as President von der Leyen said. This starts now with an Industrial Strategy that recognises wind energy. And ensures Climate neutrality translates into hundreds of thousands of wind jobs here in Europe.”
WindEurope’s demand follows up on a similar claim by it and nine other renewables federations last week to acknowledge renewable energy technologies as one of its key Strategic Value Chains when presenting the EU’s industrial strategy.
Wind power already provides 15% of Europe’s electricity, employs over 300,000 people, represents more than €25bn ($27.8bn) of new investments and exports €8bn of goods and services every year.
But the wind industry – including its supply chain - in Europe is struggling amid fierce price pressure and the collapse of important markets such as Germany. Europe is at risk of losing its global leadership on wind energy, WindEurope points out, and along with it tens of thousands of jobs in industry, research and innovation.
Close to 40,000 jobs have already been lost in the last four years in Germany alone, where OEM Senvion last year became insolvent, and even stronger rivals such as Siemens Gamesa and Enercon had to announce drastic job cuts.
China is now installing twice as much wind each year as Europe, and reducing costs with economies of scale faster than Europe. Competition with the Chinese in third country markets is getting tougher because they come with cheaper government-backed finance and benefit from structural overcapacities built on inflated subsidy regimes, WindEurope laments.