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Group urges E.U. leaders to invest in renewables, not oil

The European Wind Energy Association urged leaders who attended the European Union summit in Brussels last week to invest in renewable energy to create more jobs instead of importing oil from Russia and Algeria.

"If E.U. leaders want to create jobs in Europe they should invest in renewable energies. If they want to create jobs in Russia and Algeria they should invest in gas," said Christian Kjaer, the association's chief executive.

The group criticized recent agreements by E.U. ministers to fund energy from gas, including the European Regional Development Fund for "smart gas development" and "power distribution, storage and transmission systems," as well as the "horizon 2020" research fund for gas.

According to EWEA, Europe has spent billions of euros in importing gas from 2005 to 2010 - reaching as high as 87.28 billion ($109.517 billion) in 2008. This spending was lesser in 2010, but was still at 61.28 billion euros.

The group cited some countries in economic crisis who should address their dependency on energy imports to reduce the outflow of money.

Spain, Ireland, Italy and Portugal all import at least 80 percent of their consumed energy, while Greece imports 68 percent, the wind association noted.

According to wind energy groups, the burden on the economy that these countries see due to their dependency on energy imports can be tackled by additional investments in home-grown renewables.

Home-grown renewable energy sources like wind power, solar power and biomass help reduce fuel import costs. The entire E.U. is already avoiding costs amounting to 20 billion euros from 2007 to 2010 by employing wind energy alone.

The wind industry created 30 percent more jobs in that period, employing 238,154 people directly and indirectly in 2010 alone. The group estimates a rise in employment to 520,000 full time jobs in the E.U. by 2020 if E.U. member states agreed on binding targets for renewable energy for 2030. – EcoSeed Staff

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