Rystad Energy: Offshore Wind Jobs to Triple by 2030

Workforce demand in offshore wind will rise dramatically over the next decade, with the number of jobs in this sector reaching around 589,000 in 2025, while 2030 could see 868,000 full-time offshore wind jobs. Currently, it is estimated that around 297,000 people are working in the sector.

Illustration; Source: REpower (archive)

This is according to an analysis from Rystad Energy, which shows that, with the installed offshore wind capacity estimated to increase to 110 GW by 2025 and 250 GW by 2030, the sector will create hundreds of thousands of new direct and indirect full-time jobs.

Jobs in construction and development (C&D) are expected to account for most of the employment over the next decade, although its share of the total employment decreases as we approach 2030. Operations and maintenance (O&M) jobs, which accounted for about 7 per cent of the total job count in 2020, will make up about 12 per cent in 2025.

“With a rapid increase in offshore wind installed capacity, O&M will gain a larger share of the total jobs. C&D roles will still dominate, however, because a typical offshore wind farm spends 60-70% of its capex in the lead-up to its commissioning, which takes between one and three years”, Rystad Energy says.

In the total employment potential, C&D roles contribute about 66 per cent, with installation jobs accounting for 10 per cent and project development for 4 per cent. O&M share in the total jobs potential is estimated to be 20 per cent.

Companies such as Siemens Gamesa, Vestas, Goldwind and GE Renewable Energy are expected to create most of the jobs in offshore wind as employment in turbine manufacturing accounts for 54 per cent of the total 2030 potential, with producing bigger turbines will require building more factories and employing additional workforce in the coming years.

Foundation manufacturing is also a significant contributor and is expected to account for 8 per cent of the total jobs in 2030, while foundation installation will contribute with 5 per cent.

Jobs in Europe to Triple by 2030, Employment in China to Stagnate Despite Current Ramp-Up

Geographically, Europe, Asia outside of China, and the Americas are estimated to drive the global jobs creation in the offshore wind sector over the next decade.

Demand for offshore wind jobs could more than triple in Europe, rising from 110,000 in 2020 to around 350,000 in 2030, with growth to be especially noticeable over the next five years.

In Asia, the jobs boost will be most noticeable in the second half of this decade, as South Korea, Vietnam, Japan and Taiwan are expected to contribute significant offshore wind capacity. China could see demand for jobs stagnate towards 2030, despite the current activity ramp-up, Rystad Energy said.

In the Americas, the U.S. will be a major driver for offshore wind deployment based on the country’s ambitions to decarbonise the power sector by 50 per cent by 2030. Rystad Energy estimates that the U.S. will have almost 15 GW of installed offshore wind capacity by 2030, with 30 per cent coming from recent solicitations held by New York State.

Demand for jobs in the Americas is expected to increase further with other countries in the region, especially Brazil, which has several large projects expected to be commissioned around the turn of the decade.

Rystad Energy also highlighted that job creation in offshore wind could be a great opportunity to recover some of the hobs lost during the oil and gas industry downturn, especially O&M, project development and engineering jobs.

“Oil and gas workers will also benefit from this expected growth in offshore wind employment globally, as they share some skills sets and essential offshore knowledge. Offshore wind areas such as foundation manufacturing, offshore construction, project development, and O&M have been highly relevant to oil and gas operations”, said Alexander Fløtre, Rystad Energy’s Product Manager for Offshore Wind.