Harnessing even a fraction of the nation's potential offshore wind resources, estimated to be more than 4,000 GW, could create thousands of jobs and help revitalize the U.S. manufacturing sector, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, diversify energy supplies and provide cost-competitive electricity to key coastal regions, according to a new report released by the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).
The report, ‘Large-Scale Offshore Wind Power in the United States: Assessment of Opportunities and Barriers,’ includes a detailed assessment of the nation's offshore wind resources and offshore wind industry, including future job growth potential. The report also analyzes the technology challenges, economics, permitting procedures, and the potential risks and benefits of offshore wind power deployment in U.S. waters.
‘Clean, renewable energy development that capitalizes on the nation's vast offshore wind and water resources holds great promise for our clean energy future and our economy,’ says Stephen Chu, secretary of the DOE.
The report concludes that although significant challenges remain, effective research, policies and market commitment will enable offshore wind to play a large role in the country's energy future.
In assessing the potential for supplying 20% of U.S. electricity from wind energy by 2030, NREL's least-cost optimization model found that 54 GW of added wind capacity could come from offshore wind. Achieving 20% wind by 2030 would provide significant benefits to the nation, such as increased energy security, reduced air and water pollution, and stimulation of the domestic economy, the report says.
Building 54 GW of offshore wind energy facilities also would generate an estimated $200 billion in new economic activity and create more than 43,000 permanent, well-paid technical jobs in manufacturing, construction, engineering, and operations and maintenance, according to the report.
Extrapolating from European studies, NREL estimates that offshore wind will create more than 20 direct jobs for every megawatt produced in the U.S.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Energy