On Tuesday, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) published a press release, Wind Energy Grows by Record 8,300 MW in 2008 – Smart policies, stimulus bill needed to maintain momentum in 2009.
The press release highlights some of the successes that the industry experienced in 2008 including an increase of 35,000 new jobs. In 2007, there were approximately 50,000 employees in the wind industry; at the end of 2008, this jumped to over 85,000. This is more than the estimated 81,000 employees in the coal industry. However, the release points out that nearly 8,000 of these jobs are in construction-related fields and that without continued funding in 2009, these jobs will be lost.
The jobs used in calculating this 85,000 figure include positions in “turbine component manufacturing, construction and installation of wind turbines, wind turbine operations and maintenance, legal and marketing services, and more.” Source: AWEA
The report goes on to comment on the state of the nation’s economy and that it is already affecting those in the wind turbine manufacturing industry. It does look as though the wind industry is teetering on a fine line between growth and decline. The economy will likely play a huge role in the near-term success or failures in the renewable energy industry.