Jobs, nature protection, energy security, local communities – WindEurope Annual Event in Bilbao showcases the ‘value of wind’ | WindEurope
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Jobs, nature protection, energy security, local communities – WindEurope Annual Event in Bilbao showcases the ‘value of wind’

From 20-22 March more than 12,000 people gather in Bilbao for the WindEurope Annual Event 2024. This comes at a time of growing optimism for Europe’s wind industry. Investments in new wind farms are up. Auction volumes are at record levels. More permits are coming through. The supply chain is returning to profit. Government action is helping – with the EU Wind Power Package and European Wind Charter. Under the tagline “Our wind, our value” WindEurope 2024 showcases the wider value of wind energy for Europe.

The WindEurope Annual Event 2024 will start tomorrow in Bilbao. The three-day exhibition and conference gathers more than 12,000 people, 520 exhibiting companies, 14 Ministers and 400 other speakers from politics, industry and academia. Under the tagline “Our wind, our value – Creating value for Europe, living up to Europe’s values” the event explores the value of wind energy for jobs, nature protection, energy security, economic competitiveness, local communities and much more.

New optimism for Europe’s wind sector

Wind is 19% of all the electricity consumed in Europe. The EU want it to be 35% in 2030. That means almost doubling the amount of wind energy capacity in the next 7 years.

The latest WindEurope Annual Report and Outlook shows that this target is now within reach thanks to improvements in permitting and increases in new investments and auction volumes. The new optimism is supported by recent announcements from European wind turbine manufacturers and suppliers starting to return to profitability.

“Permitting is up. Investments are up. Auction volumes are up. The supply chain is building new factories in Europe. And Governments are actively supporting the wind industry with the EU Wind Power Package and European Wind Charter. There’s a new confidence as the industry gathers for its annual event in Bilbao”, says WindEurope CEO Giles Dickson.

The value of wind energy

To illustrate the value wind energy bring to Europe’s citizens, WindEurope will be releasing a new Rystad Energy report at the Bilbao event. It shows that:

At the same time WindEurope expect there to be 510,000 people working in wind by 2030, up from 300,000 today.

The Bilbao event will also showcase what wind contributes to local communities and biodiversity protection. We’re honoured that Birdlife International are the Biodiversity Partner for the event.

Implementing the EU Wind Power Package

2023 was a defining year politically for wind energy in Europe. The EU recognised the wind industry needed support and adopted its excellent Wind Power Package – 15 immediate actions to strengthen the sector, including support for the supply chain and better auction design with full indexation of prices and tighter pre-qualification criteria to raise the bar on what sort of turbines can be built in Europe.

26 Governments then signed the European Wind Charter, endorsing the Wind Power Package and committing to take the actions in it that fall to them. At WindEurope 2024 in Bilbao Ministers from Spain, Germany, Belgium, Greece, Denmark, Ireland and Croatia will explain the actions they are taking.

The Wind Power Package also included actions for the European Investment Bank (EIB), which the EIB are now implementing. They’ve set up a counter-guarantee instrument to support up to €80bn in new wind energy investments. They’ve also changed their lending mandate to better support wind turbine manufacturing. The EIB will have a major presence in Bilbao, their advisory and lending team will have a dedicated Business Lounge on the exhibition floor.

Outstanding challenges

The three-day conference will also address the outstanding challenges to the expansion of wind energy in Europe, notably the need to accelerate the build-out of grids. Other challenges the event will explore include the need to expand port infrastructure and the skills gap. There’ll also be a dedicated student programme for young people to inform themselves about job profiles and career opportunities in wind.

The WindEurope Annual Event returns to Bilbao

WindEurope 2024 is coming back to Spain. With 30 GW Spain continues to be among the top five countries globally for installed wind energy capacity.

“We are proud to host the WindEurope Annual Event in Bilbao for the third time. Wind energy is the leading technology in our electricity system, providing 27% of all electricity consumed in Spain. Spain is an international benchmark because it hosts the entire wind energy value chain. This industrial and technological autonomy is one of our fundamental pillars. And the Spanish wind sector is confident that 2024 will be the year of floating offshore wind deployment – we are prepared for it”, says Juan Virgilio Márquez, CEO of Asociación Empresarial Eólica, the Spanish Wind Energy Association.

Visit the event webpage

See the full conference programme