New peer reviewed projections show investment by the U.S. offshore wind industry will total $109 billion within 10 years. That figure represents a 40% increase from the last estimate, calculated just two years ago.
The report was completed by the Special Initiative on Offshore Wind (SIOW), which provides data and analysis to drive the responsible and sustainable deployment of U.S. offshore wind. Its release comes as the sector is aggressively moving toward a national goal of building 30 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind by 2030.
While the majority of global offshore wind development is in Europe, the U.S. industry is growing quickly. According to a Department of Energy report, the U.S. offshore wind energy pipeline increased by 24% in 2020.
SIOW Executive Director Kris Ohleth said that means the country as a whole and many of its states face a decision.
“Major private sector investment in the offshore wind supply chain is certain. What the U.S. must decide is whether we build that energy future, or buy it from other countries,” said Ohleth. “There are an enormous number of jobs and significant economic development potential at stake. Governors in dozens of states have the opportunity to make their respective state a center for offshore wind.”
The new SIOW report builds a roadmap for what is known as “TOTEX,” or total investment from development, construction, and operational phases. This includes everything from building the wind turbines at the heart of any offshore wind project, to making and installing the thick underwater cables that transmit power from offshore wind farms to the cities that use the power.
“As one of the most abundant sources of clean energy, offshore wind power is not only a feasible replacement for traditional energy sources that pollute our air and water, but can also create astonishing economic opportunities for states willing to attract the private investment necessary to meet the 30 GW national target,” said Deborah Burke, Program Officer at the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, which funded the report.
David Hardy, CEO of Ørsted Offshore North America, said the report reflects major investments in offshore wind. “The Biden Administration’s 30 GW offshore wind goal will create tens of thousands of jobs, and will foster a new U.S. manufacturing era that will provide an economic boost to communities not just on the coast but across the country.”
A new addition to the 2021 report is the calculation of development and operational expenditures. Development expenditures include softer skills and services. Those jobs and revenue opportunities can extend beyond East Coast states to those farther inland.
Carrie Cullen Hitt, Executive Director of the National Offshore Wind R&D Consortium, which promotes research that reduces the cost and risk of offshore wind development, said, “This report translates development goals into tangible outcomes, and provides a much needed outlook on the beneficial impacts that the offshore wind industry will have in the future.”
The projected offshore wind development creates an opportunity for states to become a manufacturing hub for offshore wind. Examples from two states who are already moving on this include Maryland’s retired Bethlehem Steel plant in Baltimore which is being retrofitted to manufacture heavy offshore wind equipment, and New Jersey’s investment of $200 million to build a dedicated “wind port” on the Delaware River.
About SIOW: The Special Initiative on Offshore Wind (SIOW) is an independent organization, generating fact-based research and convening multi-sector collaboration to provide expertise, analysis, information sharing, and strategic partnerships with industry, advocacy, and government stakeholders. We do this with a goal of driving the responsible and sustainable deployment of offshore wind in the U.S. To learn more, visit www.OffshoreWindPower.org
Graph courtesy of the Special Initiative on Offshore Wind (SIOW)
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