US Kick-Starts Federal-State Offshore Wind Supply Chain Partnership

The US Department of Energy (DOE) will lead in the development of a comprehensive offshore wind supply chain roadmap as part of its participation in the new White House-led Federal-State Offshore Wind Implementation Partnership.

Illustration; Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW) demo project, first wind turbines in US federal waters; Photo: Dominion Energy

The first of its kind forum between twelve US East Coast Governors and Administration officials is expected to enable collaboration to build a strong, US-based supply chain for offshore wind, grow a skilled US workforce, and accelerate work to address important regional matters.

The partnership is also expected to advance the industry’s rapid development and help accelerate the country’s goal of 30 GW of offshore wind capacity by 2030 and 100 per cent clean electricity by 2035.

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”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 US 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.”

Achieving the 2030 offshore wind capacity goal will result in an expected USD 12 billion in annual investment in offshore wind projects, which in turn can lead to the construction of up to ten manufacturing plants for offshore wind turbine components and new ships to install the turbines, DOE said.

The nation’s offshore wind goal is also projected to support nearly 80,000 jobs in the industry and surrounding local communities, power more than 10 million homes, and cut 78 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

Under the Federal-State Offshore Wind Implementation Partnership, the federal and state partners will work together to further grow US 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.

Offshore Wind Supply Chain Needs Roadmap

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 US goal of 30 GW 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.

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The second part of the road map, to be released by the end of 2022, will detail scenarios that would achieve US 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 investments from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law include USD 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 USD 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, DOE said.

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