24 May 2024, 14:08
Benjamin Wehrmann

Europe at risk of falling short in wind turbine production capacity, labour union and NGO warn

Clean Energy Wire

Production capacities for new wind turbines in Germany and the EU are insufficient for covering the rapidly growing demand for the renewable power technology, German labour union IG Metall and NGO Environmental Action Germany (DUH) have warned in a joint statement. If domestic production capacities for turbines are not increased significantly, Europe runs the risk of steering itself into novel energy supply dependencies, the two organisations argued. Presenting a concept for doubling production capacities by 2030, IG Metall and DUH said this could help avert dependencies and simultaneously improve the economic, social and ecologic impact of turbine manufacturing. Wind turbine producers currently face cost pressure and other hurdles to business that require “political intervention” for safeguarding domestic production capacities, they added. “We risk losing production at home and gamble away the energy transition,” said DUH energy expert Nadine Bethge. 

Bolstering domestic manufacturing along the entire production chain would increase Europe’s sovereignty and allow the EU to implement high standards regarding transparency and sustainability criteria, she said. “We call for investments in additional production capacities and the introduction of social and ecologic criteria in public tenders.” IG Metall representative Daniel Friedrich said improving domestic turbine production would combine climate action with industrial policy for the future that provides secure jobs in the long run. This should be reflected in “fair pay through collective bargaining coverage and adequate training programmes” as further criteria in auctions for wind farms.

Two solar photovoltaics (PV) manufacturers have abandoned the German market since the start of the year, citing “grave market distortion” and better investment conditions elsewhere as main reasons. The EU is considering the introduction of quotas for domestic renewable technology production with its Net-Zero Industry Act. Strategic sovereignty for the energy transition came strongly into focus in the union following Russia's war in Ukraine and the ensuing energy crisis.

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