The US offshore wind industry is set to deliver significant economic benefits over the next decade, according to a new report released by the American Wind Energy Association
In addition to providing clean, affordable, and reliable power, the report, US Offshore Wind Power Economic Impact Assessment estimates that developing 30 GW of offshore wind along the east coast could support up to 83,000 jobs and deliver US$25Bn in annual economic output by 2030.
AWEA chief executive Tom Kiernan said, “Offshore wind is key to the future of clean energy development in the US and will add to a thriving wind power industry that already represents the largest source of renewable energy in the country.
“The offshore wind industry will create tens of thousands of jobs and provide billions of dollars to the economy, while delivering on its enormous untapped potential to power major population centres up and down the east coast.”
Market projections anticipate 30 GW of offshore wind capacity will be operational by 2030, representing up to US$57Bn of investment in the US economy.
AWEA’s report estimates that developing this amount of offshore wind will support up to 45,000 jobs by 2025 and 83,000 jobs by 2030, depending on the level of offshore wind build and supply chain growth in the country.
In addition, the development, construction, and operation of offshore wind projects in the US will deliver annual economic output totalling as much as US$14Bn in 2025 and US$25Bn in 2030.
States along the east coast are driving demand for offshore wind. Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Virginia have targets to procure a total of 25.4 GW of offshore wind before 2035. These policies provide certainty for the industry and will enable investment in the American offshore wind supply chain.
“State leaders are seeing the environmental and economic promise of offshore wind and are stepping in to provide the vision and policies to help this industry quickly achieve scale,” Mr Kiernan said.
“Offshore wind, following on the rapid proliferation of land-based wind over the past decade, is positioned to achieve significant growth and deliver jobs and economic output along the east coast and throughout the rest of the country.”
AWEA said the offshore wind industry is poised to build on the massive growth experienced by its land-based counterpart. As noted in the report, the land-based wind industry grew from supporting 100 domestic manufacturing facilities and 50,000 jobs in 2007 to more than 500 facilities and 114,000 jobs today.
In 2019, land-based wind power reached more than 100 GW of operating capacity, a four-fold increase from 2008. Offshore wind is set for a similarly rapid expansion, creating new opportunities for port revitalisation and vessel construction. Project developers and manufacturers have already announced more than US$1.3Bn of planned investments in port infrastructure, manufacturing facilities and supply chain development to support offshore wind.
AWEA said the benefits of the fast-growing US offshore wind industry outlined in the report do not take into account the additional value projects will deliver through tax revenues to local, state, and federal jurisdictions, emissions reductions and associated health savings, and direct payments supporting workforce development or host communities.
“These offshore wind benefits will not be limited to coastal states where the projects are built. While activity will be concentrated in coastal states close to the offshore wind projects, supply chains and service providers across the country will have an opportunity to support this new industry,” said AWEA.
“Outside of the large turbine components, offshore wind represents an opportunity for domestic manufacturing of steel for foundations, substations and vessels, cables to transport electricity and US flagged vessels to move components and workers to and from the project site. The oil and gas industry along the Gulf Coast is a prime example of an industry with an opportunity to leverage their expertise in offshore structures and offshore drilling and apply it to offshore wind.
“The US wind industry is already well on its way to delivering economic benefits across the county, with investment announcements currently totalling US$1.3Bn and counting across the east coast. These commitments to improve port infrastructure, establish manufacturing facilities, and provide training facilities, just to name a few, are indicative of what will follow as the industry grows.”