Predictions for jobs boom in Canadian wind sector

Canada's wind energy industry is currently a C$400 million a year business -- and a recent survey of companies in the sector predicts expenditure in the sector will increase dramatically over the next several years. The Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) asked Saskatchewan-based Insightrix Research to poll its 152 corporate and institutional members, not only to provide a snapshot of the industry today, says policy director Sean Whittaker, but also to serve as a benchmark from which to chart future growth. About 65% responded. About two-thirds of the current C$400 million turnover is in goods and services from Canadian suppliers. Respondents estimated their expenditures will increase by 52% this year and another 71% in 2006. The study found an average of 4.4 "wind-dedicated" positions per company, meaning that while the wind power industry is growing, the firms within it remain relatively small. Overall, the industry provides the equivalent of 720 full time direct jobs, with an annual payroll of C$50 million, and is responsible for another 650 indirect jobs. But with the "coming wave" of expected wind project development, says Whittaker, the industry's human resources requirements are expected to balloon. A recent study found that increasing Canada's currently installed capacity nearly ten-fold to 5600 MW would create around 13,000 jobs. CanWEA is already projecting growth could hit 7500 MW by 2013. "So 13,000 is a very conservative figure," says Whittaker.

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