Offshore Wind and New Hampshire's Economy

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Investments into offshore wind and port development in the Gulf of Maine are predicted to total tens of billions of dollars in the coming decades. These investments are expected to spur job creation and provide new opportunities for workers and businesses to participate in the offshore wind workforce and supply-chain. Learn more about how offshore wind could benefit New Hampshire's economy though job creation, workforce development opportunities, supply-chain activities, and port renovation below.

Offshore wind projects in the Gulf of Maine could spur job creation in many sectors of New Hampshire’s economy.

Investments into offshore wind and port development in the Gulf of Maine  could drive significant job creation in New Hampshire. It is estimated that the development and construction of 5 gigawatts of offshore wind capacity in the Gulf of Maine could create over 20,000 jobs in New Hampshire and Maine. Continued operation and maintenance of wind turbines could support over 3000 additional long-term jobs between the two states.

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Average annual job creation predicted from the development of 5 gigawatts of offshore wind capacity in the Gulf of Maine

Job creation analyses performed for neighboring states provide further context on the scale of the offshore wind energy industry. Because the industry requires a large, highly-trained workforce, New Hampshire stands to benefit from offshore wind development in the Northeastern region as whole.

A study sponsored by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) found that 8 gigawatts of offshore wind capacity commissioned off the Northeast coastline, from Maine to Maryland, could create as many 500,000 “job-years” related to  planning and development activities, supply chain manufacturing, construction of turbines, and operation and maintenance of turbines.

What is a job-year?

A job-year is a unit that represents job creation in terms of full-time employment. One job-year is equivalent to one person working full-time for one year. The number of job-years created by a project is likely to differ from the total number of jobs created by the same project.

The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center also projected that offshore wind development off the coast of Massachusetts would have long-lasting benefits for the local job economy. The Center estimated that the deployment of 1.6 gigawatts of wind capacity off the coast of Massachusetts would generate thousands of employment opportunities, the majority of which would be long-term jobs associated with operation and maintenance of offshore wind farms.

 

A strong, skilled, and diverse workforce will be key to the success of offshore wind development in the Gulf of Maine.

Offshore wind development requires the expertise from many different occupational fields. One study estimated that the offshore wind workforce is composed of as many as 74 different occupational fields.

A diverse set of trade workers, from electricians to commercial divers, constitute a vital part of the workforce during the assembly and deployment of turbines. After installation, service technicians, performing routine and emergency maintenance, help ensure continued operation of offshore wind turbines. Water transportation workers play a central role during all phases of offshore wind development to help transport workers and components to and from the development site. Offshore wind projects also bring an increased demand for environmental scientists who can perform environmental survey and monitoring activities and coastal mapping to ensure the protection of marine life and fisheries during and after offshore wind development. The offshore wind industry also indirectly benefits other sectors of the economy, including hospitality and tourism sectors.

Career and technical education centers, the Community College System of New Hampshire, the University System of New Hampshire, private educational institutions, and union apprenticeship programs will play a critical role in developing new or enhanced programs to train an offshore wind-ready workforce. Other New England states, including Massachusetts, have developed consortiums to bring relevant educational institutions together to create strategies for offshore wind workforce development.

Sample Occupations of the Offshore Wind Workforce

Phase: Planning & Development

Phase: Assembly and Installation

Phase: Operations and Maintenance

Project Engineers

Civil Engineers

Mechanical Engineers

Electrical Engineers

Industrial Health & Safety Engineers

Marine Engineers & Naval Architects

 

Construction Managers

Construction Managers

Architectural & Engineering Managers

 

Trade Workers

Longshoremen/Stevedores

Iron & Steel Workers/Welders

Electricians

Material Moving Machine Operators

Elevator Installers & Repairers

Commercial Divers

Construction Laborers

 

Water Transportation Workers

Captains, Maters & Pilots of Water Vessels

Sailors & Marine Oilers

Ship Engineers

Operation & Maintenance Technicians

Site/ Plant Managers

Power Plant Operators

Transportation, Storage, & Distribution Managers

 

Project Engineers

Electrical Engineers

Mechanical Engineers

Quality Engineers

Industrial Health & Safety Engineers

 

Water Transportation Workers

Captains, Maters & Pilots of Water Vessels

Sailors & Marine Oilers

Ship Engineers

Operation & Maintenance Technicians

Engineering

Civil Engineers

Mechanical Engineers

Mechanical Engineering Technicians

Electrical Engineers

Electrical & Electronic Engineering Technicians

Marine Engineers & Naval Architects

Environmental Engineers

 

Surveying & Scientific Monitoring

Geoscientists

Natural Sciences Managers

Zoologists & Wildlife Biologists

Atmospheric & Space Scientists

Geological & Petroleum Technicians

 

Finance

Financial Manager

Budget Analysts

Cost Estimators

 

Permitting

Compliance Officers

Lawyers

Paralegal & Legal Assistants

 

Public Relations

Market Research Analysts & Marketing Specialists

 

The offshore wind industry could create new opportunities for New Hampshire’s businesses and manufacturers.

Offshore wind development along the Atlantic coast is expected to be a $68 billion revenue opportunity for industry component suppliers through 2030. New Hampshire businesses could benefit from participating in the build-out of a local supply chain for the offshore wind industry. Localizing the offshore wind supply chain capacity in the New England region will also reduce offshore wind project costs by reducing project lead times, minimizing risk of disruption to construction schedules, and cutting shipping costs for offshore wind developers.

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Join the Offshore Wind Business Supply Chain Registry

New Hampshire businesses interested in participating in the offshore wind supply chain in the Gulf of Maine and beyond are encouraged to share their information with the NH Department of Business and Economic Affairs using the Offshore Wind Business Supply Chain Registry

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New Hampshire’s ports could support the development of offshore wind in the Gulf of Maine.

Funding for port renovations may be leveraged from private investors, as well as from public programs including the Port Improvement Development Program (PIDP), the BUILD Grant program, and the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA). Significant investments into port infrastructure are underway along the Eastern seaboard; in 2019, nearly two billion dollars of investments were committed to offshore wind infrastructure upgrades at ports along the Atlantic coast.

Ports play a critical role in offshore wind development. They serve as central hubs for the assembly and deployment of wind turbine components prior to offshore installation. Developing a network of ports along the Atlantic seaboard with the capacity to marshal, or stage, offshore wind turbines will be critical to meet industry demand. 

Investments into infrastructure at the New Hampshire Port Authority, and potentially other sites along New Hampshire’s coast, will be necessary for successful participation in the offshore wind industry. Investments into spacious staging areas and heavy-duty wharves will be needed to support both the size and weight of wind turbine components. While the state currently provides deep water port resources, dredging waterways may also be necessary to provide port access for the large vessels involved in offshore wind construction and maintenance. A dredging project to widen the turning basin in the Upper Piscataqua River and to dredge siltation from the port terminal is already underway through the NH Port Authority.

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Wind turbine components being unloaded at the Market Street Marine Terminal (Portsmouth, NH) for a land-based wind energy project in Antrim, NH.

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Governor Sununu commissioned a report to assess the state’s existing port infrastructure, as well as coastal transmission infrastructure and supply chain opportunities. The Commission has also established a committee to study NH’s public and private port resources with special focus on the development of state port infrastructure necessary for the offshore wind industry. Find out more about some of New Hampshire’s existing port infrastructure on the NH Port Authority website.

 
 

Transmission and energy storage projects related to offshore wind development could create additional jobs and supply chain opportunities in New Hampshire.

Electricity generated by offshore wind farms is typically brought to shore using power cables buried in the seafloor. Electricity may also be used at the site of turbines to generate hydrogen fuel for transport by pipeline or ship. Innovative energy storage systems with the capacity to store energy when electricity supply exceeds demand are likely to be coupled to the offshore wind transmission system and present a significant research and development opportunity. Engineers, trade workers, environmental scientists, legal experts, and stakeholders will all be needed to coordinate these technical feats and to minimize environmental impacts.

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New Hampshire’s coastline could serve as an ideal site for connecting electricity generated by turbines in the Gulf of Maine to the onshore power grid. Governor Sununu commissioned a report to assess the state’s coastal transmission infrastructure, alongside port infrastructure and supply chain opportunities. The Commission has also established a committee to study the current and potential uses of transmission infrastructure resources along the state’s coastline and to identify potential locations for interconnection and onshoring of offshore wind generated electricity.

 

Particular care must be taken to protect fisheries and to ensure their economic viability during offshore wind development.

Fishing activities located off the New Hampshire coast and throughout the Gulf of Maine have provided economic benefits to the New England region as a whole. Fishing industries must be protected from revenue losses following offshore wind development. The magnitude of disruption that offshore wind may cause to fishing activities will depend both on the locations and configurations of offshore wind developments. Marine spatial planning can help prevent conflicts between ocean uses and minimize potential disruption to fisheries.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) offers assessments of current offshore wind lease areas and the economic value they hold for commercial fishing industries. For example, NOAA’s data show that the Vineyard Wind project lease area supported approximately $415,083 of average annual revenue for commercial fishing industries between 2008 and 2019.

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NOAA Fishing Footprints:
Fishing Revenue (1996-2015)

These types of summaries can guide predictions of offshore wind development’s impact on fishing in current lease areas. Visit NOAA’s website for more information about the socioeconomic impact of offshore wind development on Atlantic fisheries.

To ensure that offshore wind development in the Gulf of Maine is pursued responsibly and equitably, the Commission has established a committee to study the impacts that offshore wind development could have on commercial and recreational fishing activities in the region.

NOAA Fishing Activity Summaries

NOAA Fisheries has published summaries of fishing activity from 2008-2018/2019 within each offshore wind lease or project area along the U.S. Atlantic Coast.

 

These assessments show that significant amounts of fishing activity has traditionally occurred in some offshore wind lease areas. Although offshore wind lease areas will remain open to fishing following offshore wind development, it may be impossible for commercial fishing to occur safely due to risk of gear entanglement.

Graphs below help illustrate the fishing activity that has traditionally occurred within the Vineyard Wind 1 lease area. Once built, the Vineyard Wind project will be the first commercial scale offshore wind energy project in U.S waters

Left: Catch of top species (in millions of pounds) from the fishing activities in the Vineyard Wind 1 lease area (2008-2019)

Right: Annual revenue (in millions) from fishing activities in the Vineyard Wind 1 lease area (2008-2019)

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