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Offshore Wind Energy and Potential Economic Impacts in Long Island

By Staff - New York Energy Policy Institute and Stony Brook University, November 25, 2014

This study assesses the offshore wind energy and its potential economic impacts on Long Island. The study consists of four parts. It first reviews the literature on economic development benefits associated with wind energy development. We also assess the resource and market potentials of offshore wind based on four factors:

  • (a) prior estimates of offshore wind potential;
  • (b) federal leasing of submerged lands;
  • (c) state policies in support of offshore wind; and
  • (d) proposed offshore wind projects.

Existing research on the offshore wind supply chain is reviewed. These reviews are followed with an assessment of potential impacts on employment and economic activity in Long Island. This study employs JEDI model developed by National Renewable Energy Lab to determine the job creation and economic output associated with offshore wind development under two scenarios. This study reaches four major conclusions on the economic impacts of offshore wind energy on Long Island.

First, offshore wind energy can bring significant job and economic benefits to local economies. Previous studies provide varying estimates. Job creation associated with offshore wind development ranges from 7 to 42 jobs for each megawatt. It is reasonable, however, to conclude that offshore wind can generate about 20 jobs in a region with well-developed supply chain and approximately $3.3 million of new local economic development activity.

Second, states in the mid-Atlantic and northeast are rich in offshore wind resources, and have also established policies to support renewable energies, in certain cases including offshore wind.Our review of wind resources, siting and permitting restrictions, federal leasing, state policies, and market demand for offshore wind energy suggests that a Long Island-based offshore-wind industry can have a near-term addressable market of approximately 8,850 MW.

Third, the near-term local economic development opportunities are likely in foundations, blades and marine operations. Long Island is competitive in these areas because of its large, skilled labor base, experience in the aerospace industry and maritime industries.

This analysis finds that each offshore wind farm can produce hundreds of Long Island-based jobs and millions of dollars for the local economy. A single offshore wind farm (250 MW) built off Long Island coast can create 2,864 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs on Long Island or about 11 per MW, as well as approximately $645 million in local economic output, under a scenario assuming that the first offshore wind projects will have to use more service providers and equipment manufacturers outside Long Island as the Long Island supply-chain is built out. Under another scenario that assume Long Island offshore wind industry can achieve a scale of supporting 2,500 MW, more than 58 thousand FTE jobs and approximately $12.9 billion in local economic output can be expected. Our analysis suggests that offshore wind constitutes a significant opportunity for job creation and economic development on Long Island.

Read the report (PDF).

Untapped Wealth: Offshore Wind Can Deliver Cleaner, More Affordable Energy and More Jobs Than Offshore Oil

By staff - Oceana, September 2010

In Oceana’s report Untapped Wealth: Offshore Wind Can Deliver Cleaner, More Affordable Energy and More Jobs Than Offshore Oil, our comprehensive analysis shows that focusing our investments on clean energy like offshore wind would be cost effective, more beneficial to job creation, and better for the environment and ocean in a variety of ways than offshore oil and gas exploration and development.

On the Atlantic coast, an area targeted for expansion of oil and gas activities, offshore wind can generate nearly 30% more electricity than offshore oil and gas resources combined. In addition, wind development would cost about $36 billion less than offshore oil and gas production combined, while creating about three times as many jobs per dollar invested than fossil fuel production.

Based on conservative assumptions for offshore wind and generous assumptions for offshore oil and natural gas, this study found that by investing in offshore wind on the East Coast, rather than offshore oil and gas, Americans would get more energy for less money while protecting our oceans.

Read the report (PDF).

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