Offshore Wind Could Create 17,000+ Jobs in Spain by 2050

Offshore wind could create over 7,000 new jobs in Spain until 2030, with more than 17,000 people working in the sector by 2050, according to estimates in a white paper released by the Spanish Wind Energy Association (AEE).

The white paper states that, if Spain reached its 2050 targets for installed offshore wind capacity, the impact on employment would mean a gradual increase in the number of equivalent annual jobs between 2025 and 2050, from 7,523 jobs per year during the 2025-2030 period to 17,438 in the 2045-2050 period.

Offshore Wind Industry in Spain, White Paper, AEE

Spain has set a 2030 offshore wind target of 3 GW through its Offshore Wind Roadmap, approved by the country’s Council of Ministers in December 2021. The long-term vision of the offshore wind power scenario in Spain indicates the country’s potential to reach 17 GW by 2050, according to the white paper.

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Considering a realistic scenario in which 75 per cent of the activities are carried out in Spain, it is estimated that direct contribution of offshore wind development to GDP would be around EUR 6.12 billion in the 2025-2030 period. Some EUR 1.86 billion would be added through activities such as operation and maintenance, shipbuilding, etc. 

In total, in this five-year period, the contribution of offshore wind development would amount to EUR 9.58 billion and this figure would increase in successive periods until reaching the 2045-2050 period with a contribution of EUR 10.47 billion. 

It is also estimated that from 2025 until 2050 the sectoral contribution of offshore wind energy would amount to over EUR 49.60 billion, of which EUR 40.87 billion would be the contribution of players operating in the sector (direct impact), and EUR 8.73 billion would derive from the add-on effect that the industry would have on the rest of the Spanish economy (indirect impact).

Offshore Wind Industry in Spain, White Paper, AEE

The white paper also highlights floating wind as the main technology to be deployed off the Spanish coasts and the expertise the country’s companies have gained through offshore wind projects outside Spain.

Spain has industrial competencies and logistics infrastructure that are capable of supporting offshore wind projects and the offshore wind supply chain, according to the paper, which further states that the country has a powerful marine sector and that several Spanish shipyards have played a leading role in the construction of the bottom-fixed foundations for some of the world’s most important offshore wind farms.

Furthermore, of the thirteen floating solutions now installed in the world for testing or pre-commercial demonstration, eleven have been manufactured by Spanish companies, the white paper notes.

Floating wind is also the go-to technology for Spain, which has limitation for bottom-fixed wind turbines due to the lack of a continental shelf.

The large-scale development of this technology in Spain is a necessary requirement to promote an industry along with its value chain, making use of the existing competitive advantages in the wind energy and shipbuilding sectors, and the existing experience in operating in the marine environment, according to the new white paper.

“Spain cannot miss this opportunity to harness its exceptional advantages, derived from its geographical position and its business structure, to develop a floating offshore wind sector that leads the world. Our country has all the main features required to develop a powerful floating offshore wind industry”, the executive summary of the white paper says.

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Photo: Illustration; DemoSATH launching from the Port of Bilbao; Photo: Saitec Offshore technologies/RWE