A rope access technician standing on the hub of a wind turbine.
CharlieChesvick | E + | Getty Images
According to an analysis by the industry association Global Wind Energy Council, the expansion of the wind energy industry could create 3.3 million jobs in the next five years.
The GWEC projection includes direct roles in onshore and offshore wind, as well as jobs across the sector’s value chain. The latter includes jobs in areas such as installation, manufacturing, project planning and development, operations and maintenance, and decommissioning.
These roles would serve an industry forecast that an additional 470 gigawatts (GW) of onshore and offshore capacity will be installed between 2021 and 2025, according to the GWEC.
The Brussels-based organization’s outlook for jobs is based on what GWEC Market Intelligence calls “market growth data” and “global research by the International Renewable Energy Agency … on job creation for onshore and offshore wind projects in 2017 and 2018 “.
Joyce Lee, director of policy and projects at GWEC, said Thursday that the energy transition “must be accelerated over the next decade to ensure our chances of becoming carbon neutral by the middle of the century”.
“The good news is that the transition offers net employment and economic gains,” said Lee. “Governments around the world can take advantage of the socio-economic benefits by setting more ambitious renewable energy targets, streamlining wind project permits, and building energy markets that take into account the real cost of fossil fuels.”
All over the world, governments are actually setting targets to reduce emissions and increase renewable energy installations. A number of goals aim to make wind energy a critical tool in moving away from fossil fuels.
For example, last month the US said it wanted to expand its offshore wind capacity to 30 GW by 2030. The Biden government hopes to create thousands of jobs and billions in investments in the coming years.
Across the Atlantic, the UK wants its offshore wind capacity to reach 40 GW by 2030, while the European Union wants offshore capacity to be at least 60 GW by the end of this decade and 300 GW by 2050.
Despite these goals, the reality on the ground shows that for many countries any move away from fossil fuels is a significant challenge that requires enormous change.
In the US, for example, fossil fuels would undoubtedly remain the largest power generation source in 2020, according to the Energy Information Administration.