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A Windfall for the U.S. Economy – the 2030 Path to Offshore Wind Energy Development

2021 will be remembered as the transformational year for offshore wind energy. Bolstered by the White House’s Executive Order on clean energy, and with the announcement of more than $2.2 billion in public and private investments in offshore wind, the industry seeks to grow to 30 gigawatts of power in the next decade. The investment in this clean energy has ripple effects into the economy, jobs and supply chain, too.

If the US meets the 2030 Challenge to Deploy 30 GW of Offshore Wind Power, we will see:

  • $12 billion – capital investment per year

  • 77,000 – projected workers employed by offshore wind and ancillary services

  • $500 million – new port upgrade investments

  • 7 million – additional cumulative demand of steel tonnage needed, equivalent to 4 years of typical output for a US steel mill

  • $1-$3 billion – construction cost needed to build 4-6 specialized turbine installation vessels in US shipyards

(source White House)

Offshore wind will be a key factor in the global response to climate change. Energy production accounts for nearly 75% of global greenhouse gas emissions and will be the focal area for climate change mitigation efforts.

Diverse Jobs Across all Regions of the U.S.

The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is advancing wind energy areas in every major U.S. body of water. By 2025, the U.S. plans to lease tracts for wind farms in waters between Maine and the Carolinas on the Atlantic coast, off California and Oregon along the Pacific Coast and in the Gulf of Mexico. Upcoming auctions this year are planned for waters off of North Carolina, California and the Gulf of Mexico. More leasing will follow in waters that include the central Atlantic, Oregon and the Gulf of Maine.

bar chart of offshore wind leasing project locations

A key factor in the wind sector reaching its potential will be access to talent. Delivering clean energy from offshore wind to communities will require a workforce with a diverse skillset to plan, construct and operate offshore wind farms. The industry will need 74 different occupations to build, operate and maintain an offshore wind farm – and, according to a recent Brookings Institute Report, many of these clean energy jobs require no more than a high school diploma. The Bureau of Labor Statistics identifies wind turbine technicians as the fastest-growing job in the U.S., with a median pay of almost $53,000 per year. The U.S. government projects 108% job growth in these positions in the next decade.

pie chart of offshore wind workforce categories

If you’re interested in a job in clean energy, we are interested in hearing from you.

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