Amidst Clean Energy Package negotiations, Brussels-based WindEurope said on May 17 that the organisation has launched a new ‘Local Impact, Global Leadership’ toolkit that maps out the local economic benefits of wind energy.

According to WindEurope, on a macro level, wind energy contributes €36 billion to the GDP of the European Union, supports 263,000 jobs and generates €8 billion in export revenue. The local impact toolkit shows how the wind supply chain is benefitting regions all across Europe, including in those that are economically disadvantaged, WindEurope said, adding that the study shows how citizens benefit from shared ownership of wind farms and how wind farms are contributing to local economic activity through the taxes they pay to local governments – covering up to 20% of municipal revenues.

The wind industry has brought jobs and investment to many regions that have depended on traditional industries, WindEurope said, adding that shipbuilding areas in northern Spain and on Poland’s Baltic coast now produce towers, foundations, cranes and the jack-up vessels that install offshore turbines.

The German turbine manufacturer Senvion now has blade factories in Silesia. And regions with steel and chemicals industries are benefitting too, given the role these play in the wind energy supply chain.

“Wind energy is a smart choice for the economy. It’s a European industrial success story,” WindEurope CEO Giles Dickson said, adding that wind energy delivers local economic benefits to communities across Europe – jobs and income that support local economic activity and public services. “Our new toolkit illustrates this and has a simple message: more wind means more economic benefits for communities throughout Europe.

Those involved in the endgame of the Clean Energy Package negotiations should take a look and see how their communities are benefitting from renewables and what more they could be getting with a higher EU target and ambitious numbers in their national energy plans,” Dickson said.

According to the WindEurope CEO, Europe-wide the difference between a 27% and a 35% renewables target is 132,000 jobs and €92 billion of investments. “And clarity in national plans on the volumes of renewables is essential too – the supply chain then knows where and when to invest,” he concluded.