Tuesday, October 3, 2023

North Carolina Partners with Mid-Atlantic States and National Renewable Energy Laboratory to Assess Offshore Wind Workforce and Supply Chain Opportunities and Needs

Raleigh, N.C.
Oct 3, 2023

North Carolina today announced participation in a regional offshore wind workforce assessment and supply chain project. The purpose of the “SMART-POWER Workforce and Supply Chain Analysis” is to understand the region’s existing offshore wind capabilities and identify supply chain investments that could most effectively leverage these resources and provide the greatest benefits to members states while furthering the responsible development of offshore wind.

The project is a partnership between the National Offshore Wind Research and Development Consortium (NOWRDC), the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the State of North Carolina, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the State of Maryland with participation from the State of Delaware.

“North Carolina is ideally positioned to support the responsible development of offshore wind in the U.S.,” said N.C. Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders. “North Carolina has the greatest technical potential for offshore wind energy generation of any state on the East Coast coupled with the largest manufacturing presence on the Eastern Seaboard. Our central location on the East Coast means we can support offshore wind up and down the entire Eastern Seaboard by supplying parts manufactured in North Carolina as well as maritime support. Now is the time for North Carolina to be making the key investments needed to bring the family-sustaining jobs and capital expenditures that this rapidly growing industry can bring to North Carolina and the region.”

NOWRDC recently funded NREL to develop a national Supply Chain Roadmap that provides a framework for evaluating different supply chain scenarios, including investment in new manufacturing facilities, upgrading ports, building new vessels, creating new workforce training centers, and creating assets in new port communities. That national-level assessment provided insight into high impact gaps that could impact the entire offshore wind industry.

In the new study announced today, NREL will work with SMART-POWER states to understand how these states can fill these gaps and realize local benefits.

Final results of the project and a full report will be released in early 2025.

In 2020, North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland signed a Memorandum of Understanding creating the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic Regional Transformation Partnership for Offshore Wind Energy Resources (SMART-POWER). This collaboration provides a framework for the three states to cooperatively promote, develop, and expand offshore wind energy and the accompanying industry supply chain and workforce.

The U.S. offshore wind industry – and its supply chain – represent an estimated 85,000 new family-sustaining jobs and $140 billion in capital expenditures along the Atlantic Coast by 2035 according to a comprehensive report released by the N.C. Department of Commerce in 2021. North Carolina is uniquely positioned to attract a potential $100 billion of the total economic investment and tens-of-thousands of family-sustaining jobs, according to the report.

In June 2021, Governor Roy Cooper signed Executive Order 218, establishing North Carolina’s offshore wind development goals of 2.8GW by 2030 and 8.0GW by 2040. The order also established the North Carolina Taskforce for Offshore Wind Economic Resource Strategies (NC TOWERS), which provides expert advice to Gov. Cooper and state policymakers on ways to advance offshore wind energy in North Carolina, with a special focus on economic development and job creation.

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is the U.S. Department of Energy's primary national laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development. For more information, please visit www.nrel.gov.

The National Offshore Wind Research and Development Consortium, established in 2018, is a not-for-profit public-private partnership focused on advancing offshore wind technology in the United States through high impact research projects and cost-effective and responsible development to maximize economic benefits. For more information, please visit nationaloffshorewind.org