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In most countries, the use of renewable energy has emerged as an opportunity for investment, economic growth and job creation, whilst also playing an essential role in the planet’s sustainability and the fight against climate change in particular. In a sustainable development scenario*, wind energy will be key: it could cover 34% of global electricity demand in 2040 (14,000 TWh, equivalent to the current power output of the United States, Europe and China combined), compared with its current share of 4%.

According to our new KPMG report "The Socio-economic Impact of Wind Power in the Context of the Energy Transition”, prepared at the request of Siemens Gamesa, wind energy could account for  23% of the required CO2 emissions reduction per annum (wind would reduce 5,600 million tonnes, equivalent to the annual emissions of the 80 most polluting cities in the world, where 720 million people live).

Some other highlights from the report :

  1. Renewable energy helps in the gender equality agenda, both in large companies and in small rural communities.  Renewable energy sector employs relatively more women than other industrial sectors, most of them are highly qualified jobs. The deployment of renewables has a particularly positive impact on the role of female labour in developing countries.
  2. The report states that reducing CO2 emissions by increasing wind power would lead to global savings of US$386 billion (a figure similar to the GDP of Norway) in costs related to climate disasters, health and rising temperatures in 2050. At the same time, a renewables-based economy would generate wealth by increasing world GDP by $20 trillion cumulatively up to 2050, i.e. around $2,500 per person.
  3. This anticipated  development of wind energy could triple global employment in this industry, which would rise from the current 1.1 million direct and indirect jobs to close to 3 million in 2050, according to IRENA.
  4. As regards global investment in wind power, the International Energy Agency projects that this will double by 2040 compared to current levels, to $200 billion per annum. One of the real positives in the fight against climate change is the way institutional investors and the wider capital markets have responded. The investment community has embraced renewables as a highly attractive asset class and we are now in an environment where there are not enough investment-ready renewable projects to satisfy what has become an insatiable demand from investors globally.
  5. The report highlights various other socio- economic advantages to wind power including health benefits, regeneration of local communities through supply chain benefits and it should help to achieve the global objective of “ securing energy for all “. At present, one billion people continue to live without electricity, and 2,700 million do not have access to fuel or clean technologies for cooking. In a sustainable development scenario, universal access to electricity and clean cooking could be achieved by 2030.
  6. As regards the coexistence of wind and solar power, the report concludes that they are perfectly complementary as, together, they improve the security of supply, reduce price volatility and contribute towards diversifying energy sources in the global energy mix.

Read more about the study here.