By 2030, wind power could be a driver of millions of jobs, with Canada well-positioned to be a leader in the sector.
As fears over climate change continue to propel a push toward renewable energy, projects involving the design, construction and maintenance of facilities related to wind energy could be an enormous driver of global jobs over the next two decades.
Canada, through its ‘immense’ wind resource, is expected to be a significant beneficiary of such growth.
The latest 2012 Global Wind Energy Outlook, published by Greenpeace and the Global Wind Energy Council, suggests that in an ‘advanced’ scenario, wind energy could produce more than 2.6 million jobs around the world each year by 2030.
The outlook uses three different scenarios – a New Policies scenario, a Moderate scenario and an Advanced scenario – to create a range of different projections regarding the sector’s long-term prospects.
“For every new megawatt of capacity installed in a country in a given year, 14 persons/years of employment is created through manufacturing component, supply, wind farm development, construction, transportation,” the outlook says.
The report says wind energy enjoyed a record year in Canada in 2011, noting that the country has ‘immense’ wind resources. IN 2011, 1,267 megawatts of new energy was installed creating 13,000 person-years of employment and representing €24.5 billion ($C33.075 billion).
The outlook suggests even more is yet to come.
“The national ‘Windvision 2025’ strategy, along with the regional ‘Windvision’ targets proposed for Quebec and British Columbia, are part of the industry’s attempt to kick start discussion on what Canada’s long-term wind energy future could look like” the report says. “2012 is expected to be another record year with approximately 1,500 mW of new developments to come online in Quebec, Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia. With similar or higher levels of growth expected over the next four years, Canada’s wind energy industry will surpass 10,000 mW of total installed capacity by 2015 – keeping the country on track to meet the national ‘Windvision’ target of supplying 20 percent of Canada’s electricity needs by 2025.”
Despite its bullish outlook, however, the report does note that the country must clarify policies outlining its approach to climate change, especially with regard to the absence of any national carbon-pricing framework that recognizes wind’s environmental attributes in market prices.
Globally, in terms of regional breakdowns, the report predicts strong increases in wind capacity across the board over the coming decades, with China expected to remain the world’s top producer followed by Europe and North America.
Published on 05 February 2013