Photo: Block Island Wind Farm. Source: GE

US: Offshore wind could bring $ 166 billion in investments, 80,000 jobs by 2035

The U.S. economy could see offshore wind investments reaching $ 17 billion by 2025, $ 108 billion by 2030 and $ 166 billion by 2035, supporting 80,000 jobs annually by 2035.

This is according to a new study from Wood Mackenzie, which also found that 28 GW of offshore wind areas could be leased and $ 1.7 billion of revenue brought to the U.S. Treasury by 2022, and that new lease areas are needed to meet these figures.

The study has looked at 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.

“If the assumed BOEM auctions in 2021 and 2022 happen, 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”, American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), one of the U.S. organisations commissioning the study, said in a press release.

New offshore wind leases can be a short-term solution to jump-start recovery from a coronavirus pandemic-driven economic slowdown, according to AWEA, which also said the study offered guidance to decision-makers for new offshore wind leases.

“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”, AWEA said. “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”.

According to the study, from 2022 to 2035, capital investment of $ 42 billion would go to turbine manufacturers and the supply chain, $ 107 billion to the construction industry, and $ 8 billion to the transportation industry and ports, with annual capital investment for O&M activities increasing to $ 2.4 billion in 2035.

Along with AWEA, the study has been commissioned by three more energy inddustry groups: National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA), New York Offshore Wind Alliance (NYOWA), and the Special Initiative on Offshore Wind (SIOW) at the University of Delaware.