A new report from the Center for American Progress (CAP) and the New Jersey Work Environment Council (WEC) says that new offshore wind farms in coastal states could create more than 75,000 jobs.
The report reviewed past offshore wind development in the United States and Europe, its impact on job creation, and the effect of policy on outcomes.
“Offshore wind is a vast clean energy resource that will lead to economic wins for workers,” Shiva Polefka, associate director of Ocean Policy at CAP, said. “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.”
The report includes a case study of the first commercial offshore wind project in the United States, the 30-megawatt Block Island Wind Farm in Rhode Island. More than 300 local, unionized workers were employed in the assembly and installation of the facility.
In European Union (EU) countries, the manufacture, installation, and maintenance of offshore wind facilities supported approximately 75,000 full-time-equivalent workers in 2014, the report said. During that year, development in these EU countries reached the levels currently targeted by states such as New Jersey, Massachusetts, and New York.
“This report underscores a major opportunity to not only put people to work installing those turbines, but also to create a regional supply chain that will provide family-sustaining jobs in the manufacturing and distribution industries,” WEC Executive Director Dan Fatton said.
CAP noted that policymakers and labor leaders can support offshore wind projects by participating in the permitting processes for offshore wind projects, supporting comprehensive ocean planning frameworks and providing job training for work on offshore wind farms.
There are more than 100 gigawatts of offshore wind resources available in federal and Great Lakes waters, according to CAP.
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