With targeted investment and forward-looking policies, South Carolina could capitalise on the offshore wind industry to drive economic growth and support an annual average of around 850 new jobs every year through 2035.
That is one of the main findings of the latest report analysing offshore wind’s ability to create employment on the east coast of the US.
The South Carolina Jobs Project: A Guide to Creating Jobs in Offshore Wind report was produced by the American Jobs Project in partnership with the Burroughs and Chapin Center for Marine and Wetland Studies (BCCMWS) at Coastal Carolina University and BVG Associates.
“Jumpstarting South Carolina’s offshore wind conversation would position us to benefit from this quickly growing sector,” said BCCMWS executive director Paul Gayes. “Right now, there is US$56Bn committed to Atlantic Coast offshore wind projects. AJP’s report shows that we can leverage South Carolina’s industry strengths to provide support for these projects and nurture local projects that would grow the economy while meeting our energy needs.”
The report provides policy recommendations that tap into South Carolina’s research expertise, manufacturing sector, and logistics infrastructure to help the state benefit from the burgeoning industry. It also outlines how South Carolina could spearhead its first offshore wind projects.
The research provides an economic development strategy that would create jobs, equip South Carolinians with workforce-ready skills and re-engage eligible workers disconnected from education and employment opportunities. The state has the 45th-lowest labour force participation rate in the US, and workforce barriers have contributed to a poverty rate of over 15%. Growing the state’s offshore wind industry is a promising economic driver.
Based on extensive research and stakeholder outreach, The South Carolina Jobs Project found that the offshore wind industry could support an average of 847 in-state jobs each year through 2035. This figure includes jobs in developing, installing and operating offshore windfarms in South Carolina as well as component manufacturing for local and regional projects.
The report said the industry is projected to grow 16% annually through 2030 due to falling costs and efficient electricity generation during peak demand. South Carolina has the sixth-highest net technical offshore wind resource potential in the US and could meet more than 50 times the state’s electricity needs with offshore wind.
South Carolina also has cutting-edge offshore wind research expertise, including Clemson University’s drivetrain testing facility, which has attracted GE and MHI Vestas, and Coastal Carolina University’s ocean, atmosphere, and wave modelling and assessment.