European Renewables Target Can Create 2.8M Jobs

Reaching the 2020 renewable energy targets is expected to lead to around 2.8 million jobs in the renewable energy sector and generate a total value added of around 1.1% of GDP. This is the main conclusion of a newly published European Commission study on the impact of renewable energy policy on economic growth and employment in the European Union (Employ-RES).

In 2005, the renewable energy sector employed 1.4 million people with a gross value added of €58 billion. The significance of the sector varies strongly among member states though biomass, wind and hydro technologies are currently the most important for employment.

In the future significantly more people are expected to be employed in the renewable energy sector, especially in those states that joined the EU in 2004 and 2007. Net effects for the overall economy are also expected to be positive. According to the study, the implementation of the renewable energy policy will generate about 410,000 additional jobs and 0.24% additional GDP in the EU-27 in 2020.

Nonetheless, the study underlines that stronger policies are needed to reap maximum economic benefits from renewable energy. More innovative technologies such as photovoltaic, offshore wind, solar thermal electricity and second-generation biofuels require more financial support in the short term, but are precisely the key to achieving the EU’s 2020 target, which in turn will help maintain the EU’s current competitive position in the global market and to increase employment and GDP in the mid-term.

Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs said, “This shows that benefits of renewables in terms of security of supply and fighting climate change can go hand in hand with economic benefits.”

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