The United States has an opportunity to accelerate offshore wind energy growth, and benefit from 28 new gigawatts of wind power and $1.7 billion in U.S. Treasury revenue by 2022, according to a study released by the energy intelligence group Wood Mackenzie.
Apart from the benefits to the Treasury, the offshore wind industry in the U.S. could create 80,000 jobs annually from 2025 to 2035.
Commissioned by four energy industry groups, American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA), New York Offshore Wind Alliance (NYOWA), and the Special Initiative on Offshore Wind (SIOW) at the University of Delaware, the study dives into the economic impact of offshore wind activities as a result of potential Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) lease auctions in 2020, 2021 and 2022.
Two million acres
According to the press statement issued Tuesday, findings from the study confirm additional lease areas are needed to meet demand, reduce energy costs, increase competition, and ultimately generate thousands of jobs and billions in investment.
Based on existing activities and policy assumptions for future offshore wind development, two million acres of federal waters in the New York Bight, which includes parts of New Jersey, as well as California and the Carolinas, could be auctioned for commercial leases as early as this year as well as in 2021.
Such leasing could support 28 GW of offshore wind development and generate $1.2 billion in U.S. Treasury revenue. Other auctions for lease areas in the Gulf of Maine and areas in California could happen in 2022 and would generate an additional $500 million in U.S. Treasury revenue, the report has found.
$166 Billion investment by 2035
Significant capital investment is expected to be made to support offshore wind activities in the U.S.
Per the report, total investment in the U.S. offshore wind industry will be $17 billion by 2025, $108 billion by 2030, and $166 billion by 2035.
From 2022 to 2035, the capital investment of $42 billion will go to turbine manufacturers and the supply chain, $107 billion will go to the construction industry, and $8 billion will go to the transportation industry and ports. Annual capital investment for O&M activities will increase to $2.4 billion in 2035.
80,000 jobs a year
When it comes to job creation, if the assumed BOEM auctions in 2021 and 2022 happen, the report foresees a total full-time equivalent (FTE) job creation from the resulting offshore wind activities, including development, construction and operation will be approximately 80,000 jobs annually from 2025 to 2035.
According to the report, the types of jobs needed to support this growing industry are varied and will require a supply chain that stretches well beyond coastal communities. While the bulk of full time equivalent (FTE) jobs are concentrated in the nearer term, operations and maintenance jobs will be needed for decades past construction.
Erik Milito, president of the National Ocean Industries Association said: "American offshore wind is a generational opportunity. Infrastructure spending, energy security, and shovel-ready jobs with good wages will be unleashed. Importantly, offshore wind development will support jobs throughout the entire U.S. The same shipbuilders, heavy lift vessel operators, steel fabricators and countless other companies who built the Gulf of Mexico oil and gas sector stand ready to lend their expertise to the American offshore wind industry.”