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Direct employment in the wind energy sector: An EU study

By Maria Isabel Blanco and Glória Rodrigues

Abstract

Wind energy is often said to have positive effects on employment, but few studies have systematically dealt with this matter. This article presents estimates of direct wind energy employment in all EU countries, gathered for the first time. By using a thematic survey, the authors have been able to analyse aspects such as gender distribution, company profiles and the shortage of skilled workers reported by wind energy companies. The outcomes show that wind energy deployment creates a significant number of jobs (over 104,000 in 2008), and does so at a time when other energy sectors are shrinking. There is a clear relationship between MW installed and number of jobs, but the use of a single EU job/MW ratio is not feasible, due to differences in the export/import capacity. Wind turbine manufacturers--including major sub-components--are responsible for the lion's share of the jobs, and there is a marked prevalence of males in the workforce. The scarcity of specialist roles--project managers, engineers and O&M technicians--is not likely to be solved unless a series of educational, mobility and dissemination measures are put into practice.Wind energy Employment Economics

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