According to a new report from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC), the deployment of Massachusetts’ required 1.6 GW of offshore wind is estimated to create between 2,270 and 3,170 job years during construction over the next 10 years, as well as generate $675 million-$800 million in direct economic output in Massachusetts.
The Offshore Wind Workforce Report – sponsored by MassCEC and authored by Bristol Community College, UMass Dartmouth and the Massachusetts Maritime Academy – also provides analysis and recommendations to guide the training and development needs for the offshore wind industry workforce in Massachusetts. The report defines a job year as one person working full-time for one year.
In 2016, Massachusetts Gov. Baker signed an energy diversification bill that authorized the largest procurement of clean energy generation in Massachusetts’ history, including approximately 1.6 GW of offshore wind energy and approximately 9,450,000 MWh of clean energy, including large-scale hydropower.
“The results of the Offshore Wind Workforce Report highlight the incredible economic opportunities created by the energy diversification legislation signed by Governor Baker, in addition to ensuring the procurement of cost-effective, locally produced clean energy that will help us reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” says Matthew Beaton, Massachusetts’ secretary of energy and environmental affairs. “The offshore wind sector is poised to create thousands of well-paying job opportunities in the commonwealth, and through identifying the necessary training and credentials required, this report will help prepare Massachusetts workers to take full advantage of the industry’s significant job creation potential.”
Additionally, the report finds that between 140 to 255 operations and maintenance job years will be generated and sustained annually throughout the 25-year life of an offshore wind farm. When taking into account direct, indirect (supply-chain) and induced impacts, the deployment of 1.6 GW of offshore wind is estimated to support between 6,870 and 9,850 job years over the next 10 years, as well as generate a total economic impact in Massachusetts of $1.4 billion-$2.1 billion.
“The information in this study will be critical to developing a workforce that can contribute to the emerging offshore wind industry,” says Stephen Pike, CEO of MassCEC. “With our proud maritime heritage and robust innovation sector, Massachusetts workers are well-positioned, with the necessary training, to participate in this new American industry.”
To ensure the commonwealth can maximize the economic benefits of the emerging industry, the assessment identifies the critical offshore wind workforce and training needs and makes recommendations for collaborative action between industry, government, educational institutions and labor. The report details the specific education, skills, and health and safety credentials required for each job associated with developing offshore wind projects, including engineers, technicians, marine scientists, crane operators, divers, construction workers, water transportation workers, steel workers and electricians, among others.
To capitalize on the opportunities identified in the report, MassCEC plans to issue a request for proposals to fund initiatives that support the development of a trained and ready Massachusetts offshore wind workforce.
“This study demonstrates the job-creating potential of offshore wind development and further solidifies our region as the epicenter of the blue economy,” says Robert E. Johnson, UMass Dartmouth chancellor. “Fully realizing the economic benefits of offshore wind and other components of the marine sector now requires an unprecedented level of regional partnership among communities, industry and educational institutions.”
“Massachusetts is poised to lead the nation in deploying the largest offshore wind farm in the United States,” says State Rep. Thomas A. Golden, Jr., chairman of the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy. “MassCEC’s report confirms the incredible opportunities before the state, whether it be training and workforce development; employment opportunities for thousands of workers; or collaborative partnerships between government, academia and industry.”
MassCEC is funded by the Renewable Energy Trust, which was created by the Massachusetts legislature in 1998. A systems benefit charge paid by customers of investor-owned utilities and five municipal electric departments that have opted into the program funds the trust.