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Offshore wind power projects in US could create 50,000 jobs


The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) of the United States Department of Energy  has released a report indicating that the U.S. goal of generating 30 Gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind power by 2030 will potentially create nearly 50,000 new American jobs. But it stresses that billions of dollars of major upgrades in ports and shipyards will need to be completed.

The NREL report A Supply Chain Road Map for Offshore Wind in the United States projects “10,000 full-time equivalent jobs in major-component manufacturing facilities by 2030 with up to 5 times as many opportunities for supplier jobs, all of which would span the country.”

“A domestic supply chain that can supply 4–6 GW of projects per year will likely require an investment of at least $22 billion in ports, large installation vessels, and manufacturing facilities.”

 “The offshore wind energy industry in the United States has been gaining momentum for several years as the project pipeline has expanded, states have established procurement targets, and initial investments have been made in ports and manufacturing facilities,” the report commented. “These efforts helped lead to the Biden administration’s announcement of a national offshore wind energy target to install 30 gigawatts (GW) by 2030.

“This announcement not only characterized deployment goals but also identified the need for a domestic supply chain, local workforce, and energy and environmental justice as part of a new offshore wind industry. There is widespread agreement that a domestic supply chain will be critical for the sustainable growth of offshore wind energy in the United States; however, there is a general uncertainty about the scope of such a supply chain, the development time frames needed to build critical resources, the level of investment required, the potential benefits that will be available to local communities and workers, and the significance of gaps in existing manufacturing, port, vessel, or workforce infrastructure on deployment targets.”

The report underlined “the potential benefits of establishing a domestic supply chain, including providing existing suppliers with the ability to produce thousands of components, while creating tens of thousands of U.S. jobs.”

 However limited port and vessel infrastructure could delay projects: “Half of the U.S. offshore wind energy projects in the pipeline are at risk of being delayed beyond 2030 because of limited port and vessel infrastructure. This risk could be addressed with around $6 billion of investment in new/expanded ports and vessels.”

Meanwhile, the Department of Energy noted that the U.S. offshore wind energy pipeline has attained a total of 40 gigawatts of capacity. Eighteen projects have reached the permitting stage and eight states have set their own offshore wind energy procurement goals, which total about 40GW by 2040.

(Photo of Vineyard Wind project off the coast of Massachusetts)



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