Published: 15 June 2018 15 June 2018
From niche technology, wind energy is now a global success story. The wind industry provides 260,000 quality high-skilled jobs in Europe. On a global scale, that figure is now 1.15 million. Today is Global Wind Day, an opportunity for citizens around the world to learn more about and show their support for wind power. It's also an opportunity for companies to showcase their technologies and contributions to local economic development and job creation at a more grass roots level.
The wind supply chain is benefitting regions across the globe, including economically less-advantaged ones. Citizens are benefitting from shared ownership of wind farms. Wind farms are also contributing to local economic activity through the taxes they pay to local governments - covering up to 25% of municipal revenues.
The wind industry has brought jobs and investment to many regions, including ones that have depended on traditional industries. Shipbuilding areas in e.g. northern Spain and northern Poland now produce towers, foundations, cranes and the jack-up vessels that install offshore turbines. Oil and gas-driven economies are benefitting too - New Mexico has invested €2.4bn in wind and the sector supports 4,000 jobs. In the US as a whole, wind turbine technician is one of the country's two fastest growing jobs. In Canada it's the same story. Alberta is investing €5.4bn of investment in new wind energy projects in the province. These are expected to generate €2.4bn in local spending and 15,000 job years of employment by 2030.
Wind energy is providing the world with clean, affordable power. After a record year of wind installations in 2017, Europe has an installed capacity of 169 GW. Wind now provides 12% of Europe's electricity and 44% in Denmark and 22% in Germany. Globally there is now 539 GW of wind energy installed. Four US states get more than 30% of their electricity from wind, as does Uruguay and the state of South Australia.