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Labor Energy Partnership (LEP)

Building a Domestic Offshore Wind Supply Chain: Workshop Summary Report

By Kevin Knobloch, Tim Steeves, and Sarah Clements - Labor Energy Partnership, June 2022

In March 2022, the LEP brought together an extraordinary group of leaders and experts for a private, virtual event on to workshop a series of four white papers related to building a robust domestic supply chain to support the emerging offshore wind (OSW) industry in the United States and abroad.

The workshop, moderated by Kevin Knobloch, distinguished associate at the EFI and president of Knobloch Energy, built on the discussion and conclusions of the first LEP OSW roundtable held in March 2021.

The aim of this new workshop was to explore and discuss the issues raised in the four white papers (across three focused discussion sessions) and help shape recommendations for actions and policies that can help create a robust domestic OSW supply chain.

This summary report seeks to capture the essence and any points of consensus of the rich discussion. The workshop was conducted under a modified Chatham House Rule to encourage candor in which it was agreed that this summary report will not attribute quotes to specific speakers by name or affiliation.

Offshore Wind Development and Supply Chain Overview

By Dave Effross - Labor Energy Partnership, June 2022

How do we make offshore wind (OSW) power competitive? Systems need to be created and put into place. This means we need not only energy infrastructure but also specialized construction and supply infrastructure. The University of Delaware’s Special Initiative in Offshore Wind (SIOW) has calculated estimates of what such a system would result in for the United States, based upon 32,352 megawatts (MW) of installed capacity in the Northeast from 2021 through 2030.

This paper estimates the volume/nature of material, equipment, infrastructure, and workforce that will be needed to support a 30 GW offshore wind industry by 2030—the national goal established by the Biden Harris Administration—while developing some perspective on the needs of a 110 GW industry projected by the Administration by 2050.

Addressing U.S. Manufacturing and Service Capacity/Gaps and Technical Standards

By David W. Cash - Labor Energy Partnership, June 2022

This paper attempts to analyze the existing offshore wind (OSW) supply chain and value chain capacity and gaps in U.S. manufacturing, vessels, ports, workforce development and standards. It further identifies opportunities and constraints in meeting goals of equity as the domestic OSW sector develops across all these dimensions. As the Biden administration notes, the development of the OSW sector offers the prospect not only to reduce emissions at scale, but also to seize the opportunity to create jobs along the value chain, create union and high-wage jobs, reduce U.S. sector uncertainties and drive equity, especially in overburdened and vulnerable communities.

Advancing Policy Measures to Drive Development of the Domestic Offshore Wind Supply Chain

By Liz Burdock, Ross Gould and Sam Salustro - Labor Energy Partnership, June 2022

Accelerating the growth of the U.S. offshore wind supply chain is critical to achieving national and state-level energy goals and will require a national strategy to succeed. This paper, titled Advancing Policy Measures to Drive Development of the Domestic Offshore Wind Supply Chain, assesses how current policies impact potential supply chain businesses and what is needed to help them retool or gain the capabilities needed to build out the U.S. offshore wind industry and compete in the global market. Secondary market forces, such as federal leasing processes and transmission capacities, play an important role in efforts to accelerate supply chain development and are discussed. This paper is informed by specific and general conversations with Network members actively working to build out a sustainable and competitive offshore wind supply chain. These insights are augmented by research into current global and European policies impacting the United States market and into comparable renewable energy technologies and their successes or failures in growing a domestic supply chain.

Revitalizing U.S. Shipbuilding With U.S.-Built Offshore Wind Installation and Maintenance Vessels

By Will Foster and Riley Ohlson - Labor Energy Partnership, June 2022

This paper assesses the opportunities and challenges for developing a fleet of Jones Act-compliant vessels for installation, maintenance and service of offshore wind infrastructure in the U.S., in consultation with shipbuilding unions.

Stimulating commercial shipbuilding activity is critical to facilitating OSW deployment while demonstrating the potential for this deployment to support and grow good manufacturing jobs.

Arguably, the greatest challenge facing sustained OSW development is neither technical nor financial but political. Many American workers, particularly those in industries tied to fossil fuels, are deeply skeptical of the prospects of a just transition and the fundamental ability for renewable energy production to support middle-class jobs.

The Power of Offshore Wind

By Sarah Clements and Angie Kaufman - Labor Energy Partnership, June 2022

The U.S. offshore wind energy industry is on the rise. As a climate solution with opportunities to create and support good-paying jobs, the offshore wind industry demonstrates the symbiosis between labor and the energy transition. 

This fact sheet was developed by EFI and AFL-CIO under the Labor Energy Partnership. It will help you understand the basics: what offshore wind energy is, why the East Coast has more potential, what the Biden Administration has pledged, and how to build the industry sustainably and equitably. 

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