Industry Report Outlines Policies Needed to Boost U.S. Offshore Wind Supply Chain


The Business Network for Offshore Wind (BNOW) has released a new policy report detailing state and federal policies needed to accelerate the development of a domestic offshore wind supply chain.

The Advancing Policy Measures to Drive Development of The Domestic Offshore Wind Supply Chain report is a series developed for the Labor Energy Partnership (LEP) Offshore Wind Workshop. It offers a blueprint for building a supply chain capable of supporting the emerging U.S. industry through a coordinated action plan that pairs strengthening market visibility with an industrialization strategy targeting support for manufacturing, transmission, and port upgrades.

LEP, a collaboration between the AFL-CIO led by President Liz Schuler and the Energy Futures Initiative (EFI) led by former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, developed the report series to explore ways to drive the offshore wind industry forward in the U.S. from supply chain development to shipbuilding. The four reports were discussed by industry, government and labor leaders during a virtual workshop moderated by Kevin Knobloch, distinguished associate at the EFI and president of Knobloch Energy.

“Success of the U.S. offshore wind industry is dependent on tens of thousands of small and medium sized businesses comprising the offshore wind supply chain,” says Liz Burdock, BNOW’s president. “But success is not guaranteed, and this new policy paper lays out a roadmap for America’s steel fabricator, vessel builder, engineering firm, environmental permitting, and family-owned welding shop that evens the playing field with foreign competitors and builds a thriving sector.”

A U.S.-based offshore wind supply chain has already started to take off as the first offshore wind projects move into the construction phase. At least a dozen primary component facilities are breaking ground or expanding existing operations to manufacture the cables, towers, blades and foundations. New vessels are being constructed in shipyards from Louisiana to Massachusetts. However, global demand for offshore wind is growing exponentially, creating fierce competition for offshore wind suppliers and equipment, and threatening to curtail growth or derail development in the United States.

BNOW’s new policy paper outlines a comprehensive strategy for developing long-term market visibility; targeting resources to manufacturing, ports and shipbuilding; developing a skilled labor force; enacting special programs and efforts for secondary suppliers; preparing the transmission system for offshore wind; and spurring innovation through research. The network’s paper on supply chain development draws up recommendations through analysis of the current policies governing the supply chain, barriers faced by U.S. businesses, and the development of offshore wind in Europe and other renewables in the United States. Special recommendations are included for smaller businesses and suppliers that face specific barriers to expansion but are critical to the success of a domestic industry.

“American manufacturers. suppliers and workers are excited to help power our nation’s transition to cleaner energy, but they need support to expand their operations and compete on the global stage,” states Ross Gould, BNOW’s vice president for supply chain development. “With effective policies, we can unlock our manufacturing base, secure our energy future, and help companies large and small create tens of thousands of good-paying jobs here at home.” 

Earlier this year, the network published a report with the National Offshore Wind Research and Development Consortium, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, U.S. Department of Energy, DNV, Maryland Energy Administration, and New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. The Demand for a Domestic Offshore Wind Energy Supply Chain report provides a high-level assessment of the deployment, workforce, ports, vessels and components required to reach the national offshore wind target of 30 GW of offshore wind power by 2030. The report provides insight into current challenges, including port infrastructure, installation vessel shortages and manufacturing capabilities.

Read the full report here.

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