For the past two years, 40 percent of all new electricity generating capacity in Europe came from wind turbines — more than any other source. And although only five percent of Europe’s electricity is now produced by wind turbines, that figure is expected to rise to 15 percent by 2020 and to 50 percent by 2050.
In an interview with Yale Environment 360, Christian Kjaer, CEO of the European Wind Energy Association, describes the combination of government policies, entrepreneurial vision, and public support that have enabled wind to become Europe’s leading form of green energy. Increasingly, says Kjaer, as old power plants fired by coal and natural gas reach the end of their lives, they are being replaced by wind and solar power. The economic benefits of this transition, says Kjaer, are indisputable, with nearly 200,000 people currently employed in the European wind power sector and 450,000 expected to work in the industry by 2020. “The winners of tomorrow’s energy wars are going to be those who understand how to develop new technology, deploy new technology, and get the benefits of exporting that technology to the rest of the world,” says Kjaer.
This post originally appeared on e360 digest.