The 2019 WindEurope Conference & Exhibition in Bilbao will build on the tremendous momentum achieved in recent years by wind power. According to the IEA, wind is now on course to be the EU’s largest power source well before 2030 – overtaking coal, nuclear and gas. In Bilbao, there will be several high-level sessions outlining the steps for a win-win synergy between the wind industry and policymakers.
“Wind energy is a key enabler of the energy transition, providing reliable, competitive and sustainable electricity,” saidEvent Ambassador Ignacio Galán, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Iberdrola. With the correct policies in place, the wind industry can actually deliver the kind of future that policymakers so often like to speak of. Prosperity and jobs, investments and growth, clean and affordable energy: these are not slogans, but concrete (and achievable) ambitions for wind energy.
Speakers include the Spanish and Portuguese Energy Ministers, Ministers from Croatia and Norway, and Michal Kurtyka, the Polish Minister who chaired the recent UN climate talks in Katowice. In plenary discussions they will explore what Event Ambassador Markus Tacke, Chief Executive Officer of Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy, called the industry’s “deep commitment to improving the communities in which we operate by creating jobs and growth, protecting our natural environment, and improving people’s quality of life.”
The theme of the event is ‘Delivering a clean economy for all Europeans.’ Key to this is reaching out more to people, ensuring that the growth of wind energy means a more prosperous Europe. Because, while the industry has major milestones to reach in terms of how much wind we get into Europe’s energy mix, there is a significant shortfall in terms of skilled and qualified wind energy workers. Today, wind energy already provides more than 300,000 jobs in Europe and, as Event Ambassador Steve Lockard, Chief Executive Officer of TPI Composites, said, wind energy is already “impacting the people we employ and the communities in which we operate in a positive way around the globe.”
But it has the potential to do much more. In particular, speakers will address the challenges around manpower, skills and qualifications. The conference will feature a special plenary on ‘Skills, Jobs, Communities’ and high-level panels on a Just energy transition, System Integration, and much more.
Speaking on the choice of location for the event, WindEurope Deputy CEO Malgosia Bartosik explained, “Bilbao and the Basque Country are shining examples of the economic strength and potential of the wind industry, a sector which represents 263,000 jobs across Europe. It illustrates that even a region that does not have the best natural wind resources is benefitting enormously from the growth of the sector by producing and exporting the relevant equipment and technology to the rest of Spain and Europe.
“The region has become a significant industrial cluster for wind energy, and this is creating real local economic value and jobs. The fact that industry giant, Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy, decided to base its global HQ in Bilbao, is just one of many examples of the importance of the industry in and around Bilbao – and illustrates why Bilbao is a logical choice to host the annual European wind industry get-together in 2019.”