Report: Massachusetts Offshore Wind Packs Big Economic Punch

The deployment of 1,600MW of offshore wind is estimated to generate a total economic impact of between USD 1.4 billion to USD 2.1 billion in Massachusetts, according to a report by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC).

Image for illustrative purposes only. Source: Deepwater Wind

The Offshore Wind Workforce Report also found that the 1.6GW of offshore wind would create between 2,270 and 3,170 job years – defined as one person working full-time for one year – during construction over the next ten years and generate between USD 675 million and USD 800 million in direct economic output.

Additionally, the report found that between 140 to 255 operations and maintenance job years will be generated and sustained annually throughout the 25-year life of an offshore wind farm. When taking into account direct, indirect (supply chain), and induced impacts, the deployment of 1.6GW of offshore wind is estimated to support between 6,870 and 9,850 job years over the next ten years.

In 2016, Governor Baker signed bipartisan energy diversification legislation authorizing the largest procurement of clean energy generation in Massachusetts’ history, including approximately 1.6GW of offshore wind energy.

The report, sponsored by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) and authored by Bristol Community College, UMass Dartmouth and the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, also provides analysis and recommendations to guide the training and development needs for the offshore wind industry workforce in Massachusetts.

Workforce Development

To ensure the Commonwealth can maximize the economic benefits of the emerging industry, the assessment identifies the critical offshore wind workforce and training needs and makes recommendations for collaborative action between industry, government, educational institutions, and labour to ensure that Massachusetts has a trained and ready offshore wind workforce.

The report details the specific education, skills and health and safety credentials required for each job associated with developing offshore wind projects, including engineers, technicians, marine scientists, crane operators, divers, construction workers, water transportation workers, steel workers, and electricians, among others.

Education and Training

The Offshore Wind Workforce Report also identifies recommendations and strategies to better position the state’s educational institutions and training centres to develop and serve a burgeoning offshore wind workforce, including recommending strategic investment in curriculum development, courses, equipment and facilities necessary to provide in-state training and certification programs. To capitalize on the opportunities identified in the report, MassCEC plans to issue a request for proposals to fund initiatives that support the development of a trained and ready Massachusetts offshore wind workforce.