U.S. Department of Energy leads multi-state offshore wind supply chain partnership

4C Offshore | Tom Russell
By: 23/06/2022 DOE
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced it will lead in the development of a offshore wind supply chain roadmap as part of its participation in the new White House-led Federal-State Offshore Wind Implementation Partnership. The forum between 12 East Coast Governors and Administration officials aims to build a U.S.-based supply chain for offshore wind and grow a skilled U.S. workforce.

The federal and state partners aim to work together to further grow U.S. offshore wind energy, anticipate needs, and solidify and expand key offshore wind supply chain elements, such as domestic manufacturing, logistics, transmission, and workforce development.

The partners will engage with underserved communities, ocean users, Tribes, local governments, and other stakeholders to ensure that supply chain development provides equitable benefits and minimizes any potential adverse impacts. Already, DOE and the Department of Commerce are partnering to research the impacts of offshore wind and other types of ocean-based energy on coastal communities and the fishing industry, and learn how to align deployment with community values.

With support from the National Offshore Wind R&D Consortium, and funding from DOE, New York, and Maryland, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory is developing a roadmap for offshore wind supply chain needs. The first part of the road map, released in March, details the top-level demand for deployment, components, ports, vessels, and workforce required to achieve the U.S. goal of 30GW of offshore wind capacity by 2030. The report forecasts the need for an offshore wind workforce averaging between 12,300 and 49,000 full time workers annually.

The second part of the road map, to be released by the end of 2022, will detail scenarios that would achieve U.S. manufacturing of major components by 2030, including manufacturing facilities, workforce requirements, and manufacturing capabilities; evaluate the potential benefits of such a supply chain; identify realistic pathways to achieve this supply chain; and determine the readiness of existing industries to support supply chain development.  

The landmark investments from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law include $2.5 billion to DOE to expand and update the nation’s transmission network, including potential connections to offshore wind. The transformative law also invests $8 billion for hydrogen hubs, which could use offshore wind energy to produce hydrogen or hydrogen-derived fuels. Developers of infrastructure for the offshore wind energy industry are encouraged to apply for funding through DOE’s Loan Programs Office.  

“Working together – states and the federal government – we can blow the lid off our growing domestic offshore wind industry and get us to our clean energy future faster,”
said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “The new Federal-State Offshore Wind Implementation Partnership will help build a strong domestic supply chain for offshore wind, and a foundation for delivering an abundance of clean energy along with more good-paying jobs.”

The US government has a national goal to deploy 30 GW of offshore wind by 2030. This effort is expected to support approximately around 80,000 jobs in industry and surrounding communities, generate electricity to power over 10 million American homes. According to DOE, achieving this goal will result in an expected $12 billion in annual investment in offshore wind projects, which in turn can lead to the construction of up to 10 manufacturing plants for offshore wind turbine components and new ships to install the turbines.

Offshore wind is taking off in the US, particularly the east coast,  with a number of offshore wind projects are proposed off the coasts of New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maryland, Virginia, Maine and the Carolinas. So far, only two projects have hit the water,
Block Island which was commissioned in 2017 followed by Coastal Virginia in 2020. Vineyard Wind 1, poised to be the first commercial scale offshore wind project in the United States, is expected to start offshore construction this year with first power slated for 2023 ahead of commissioning in 2024. Other States such as California, Louisiana and Oregon are also investigation offshore wind potential, including floating developments.

For more information on offshore wind farms worldwide, click here.