Offshore wind workforce a weak link in plan to build out renewables
There are fewer than 1,000 workers in the country’s offshore wind sector, according to estimates by the U.S. Department of Energy. (Canva)
By Terry L. Jones for Floodlight, the Lens and the Illuminator
A national push toward offshore wind energy could create thousands of well-paying domestic jobs in Louisiana and elsewhere, according to clean energy advocates and President Joe Biden, who wants to establish 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy by 2030.
But it’s unlikely there will be enough trained and certified workers to fill those positions, and that could harm the development of the offshore wind industry, according to Jeremy Stefek, workforce and economic development researcher with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory who recently assessed the offshore wind workforce.
His research found that, to meet the president’s goals, the offshore wind industry needs more than 44,000 workers in offshore wind energy by 2030 and nearly 33,000 additional workers in the communities to support offshore wind energy activity.
Currently there are fewer than 1,000 workers in the country’s offshore wind sector, according to estimates by the U.S. Department of Energy.
In response to the expected shortage, the University of New Orleans announced its creation of the Louisiana Wind Energy Hub last year, and this fall will award five scholarships for the hub's inaugural curriculum, which focuses on things like offshore wind structure design, project management and ocean engineering.