Jobs in Offshore Wind

When the topic of offshore wind is brought up, one of the most commonly asked questions is how many jobs would be created by a project or better yet a number of projects?

Up and down the East Coast underutilized port facilities are a common sight. The decades of struggle for of all types of maritime industry has been well documented as jobs have moved out of the country, or simply vanished with shifting markets.

Creating electricity via a maritime resource such as offshore wind sounds ideal – but how real are the jobs and has this been proven elsewhere?

A new set of jobs data published in mid-September gives a current view of wind and marine energy jobs creation to date in the UK. Published by RenewableUK, the report highlights a 74% increase in wind and marine energy job creation since 2010.

Some specific data from the report are as follows:

  • In the UK, wind, wave and tidal energy sector directly employs 18,465 people full time.
  • The sector also supports 15,908 indirect jobs, making a total of over 34,300 employees
  • Number of employees in offshore wind has doubled since 2010.
  • More than 70,000 jobs could be created over the next decade.
  • 91% of the industry’s jobs in the UK are currently filled by UK citizens.

The full report can be found here.

This growth is impressive. Every State along the American Coast would love to be in a position to report similar growth numbers – and it is not all large corporate employers. More than 80% of all employers in the wind, wave and tidal industries employ fewer than 250 people and 56% employ fewer than 25 people. Small, innovative businesses growth is a key ingredient for a healthy economy and clearly a major component of a growing offshore wind industry.

The types of jobs created by this industry cut across a range of skills from Service, to R&D, engineering & design to manufacturing and maritime based installation, operations and maintenance. A 2013 report from the International Economic Development Council cites a useful breakdown from the Carbon Trust of offshore wind jobs by category:

Carbon Trust jobs breakdown by type

Rebuilding maritime industry has long been a priority for US government and business throughout the East Coast, West Coast and the Great Lakes, but the options have been few and far between. Producing renewable energy using the stronger winds offshore provides just such an opportunity – Just as in the UK and elsewhere, its time we brought industry back to the American waterfront.

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