Canadian Manufacturing

Offshore wind supply chain worth $109B over 10 years: Report

The report notes that most of the initial components to be used for U.S. offshore wind projects will come from Europe.

October 12, 2021  by Associated Press

A group studying the economics of offshore wind energy in the U.S. says building and operating the nascent industry will be worth $109 billion to businesses in its supply chain over the next 10 years.

The report by the Special Initiative on Offshore Wind comes as states on both coasts and the Gulf of Mexico are moving to enter or expand their role in the industry, and are making crucial decisions on what to spend and where to spend it.

Multiple states, including New Jersey, want to become the hub of the supply chain that will support offshore wind energy in the U.S., planning and building onshore support sites for manufacturing turbine blades and other components of wind power.

The group, affiliated with the University of Delaware, estimated the market at $70 billion just two years ago, but updated its estimates as the industry continues to grow quickly.

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One caveat: the report notes that most of the initial components to be used for U.S. offshore wind projects will come from Europe. It does not attempt to predict when or where a shift might occur.

The U.S. has set a goal of generating 30 gigawatts of power from offshore wind by 2030 — enough to power over 10 million homes.

Supply chain spending is already happening.

On Friday, Orsted and Eversource signed an $86 million supply chain contract with Riggs Distler & Company, Inc. to build foundation components for wind turbines for New York’s Sunrise Wind project off Montauk Point on Long Island that will be able to power 600,000 homes.

In August, those two companies also signed a deal with Kiewit Offshore Services for the first American-built offshore wind substation, which will be a part of the same Long Island project. The substation will be constructed in Ingleside, Texas, near Corpus Christi.

“Collectively, these state commitments are equivalent to the electrical capacity of 32 large nuclear power plants, an extraordinary (capital expenditure) that requires many suppliers,” the report read.

The initiative describes itself as an independent project at the University of Delaware’s College of Earth, Ocean and Environment that supports the advancement of offshore wind. It receives funding from organizations including the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.

Offshore wind energy is viewed as a way to combat climate change by providing the globe with cleaner energy. At a forum in Atlantic City last week on offshore wind, New Jersey’s environmental protection commissioner said the industry will come with adverse impacts as well as benefits, and said much more study is needed about its impact on the ocean and sea life.