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The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has developed a tool to estimate jobs and other economic impacts associated with offshore wind development in the United States. The modeling tool, which illustrates the potential economic impact and number of jobs associated with fixed-bottom offshore wind development, applies to areas of the country that have waters shallow enough for this technology.

To build the Offshore Wind Jobs and Economic Development Impacts (offshore wind JEDI) model, researchers worked with industry representatives in four regions of the country with shallow waters to develop geographic-specific offshore wind growth scenarios. NREL’s Offshore Wind Jobs and Economic Development Impacts in the United States: Four Regional Scenarios technical report shares the results and shows that an offshore wind industry in the United States has the potential to support thousands of jobs—even at relatively conservative levels of deployment and domestic supply chain growth.

For example, in the Gulf Coast region, analyses show that in using existing port and manufacturing infrastructure, a 500-megawatt offshore wind project has the potential to support 14,500 full-time jobs during construction and up to 650 long-term jobs. NREL’s analysis finds that the Gulf Coast’s existing manufacturing workforce, supply chain, and infrastructure could be well utilized in offshore wind development, as the foundations and substructures needed for offshore wind development are similar to those used by the Gulf Coast’s oil and gas industry.

The fixed-bottom offshore wind JEDI is one of several user-friendly NREL models that estimate the economic impacts of constructing and operating power generation and biofuel plants at the state and local levels. NREL is currently developing a related JEDI modeling tool that will estimate the economic impacts associated with floating offshore wind technology, which is necessary in water depths where fixed-bottom turbines are not feasible.

Download the JEDI models.

Learn more about DOE’s Wind Program offshore wind research and development.