The construction of new offshore wind farms off the US East Coast states could lead to the creation of more than 75,000 clean energy jobs, according to a new report from the Center for American Progress and the New Jersey Work Environment Council (WEC).
The report provides a case study of the nation’s first commercial offshore wind project—the 30MW Block Island Wind Farm in Rhode Island, which concretely demonstrates the environmental and economic benefits of offshore wind development.
More than 300 local, unionized workers were employed in the assembly and installation of the facility at wages that ranged from USD 28 to USD 40 per hour plus benefits.
That number could surge as other states begin their own projects, according to the report. In European Union countries, the manufacture, installation, and maintenance of offshore wind facilities supported about 75,000 full-time-equivalent workers in 2014 when development achieved the level currently targeted by states including New Jersey, Massachusetts, and New York.
“Offshore wind is a vast clean energy resource that will lead to economic wins for workers,” said Shiva Polefka, associate director of Ocean Policy at CAP. “When coastal states get the right policy in place for offshore wind, they’re supporting working families and being leaders in the urgent fight against climate change.”
Labour leaders and policymakers can help encourage these projects by participating in the permitting process for specific offshore wind projects, supporting comprehensive ocean planning frameworks, and providing job training to ensure that men and women in key construction and logistics trades can apply their skills to maritime work environments, the report said.