Global offshore wind energy industry will require over 77,000 trained on-site workers by 2024

The Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) and the Global Wind Organisation (GWO) have published the Powering the Future: Global Offshore Wind Workforce Outlook 2020-2024 report as part of the partnership between the two global associations. The research was conducted in collaboration with Renewables Consulting Group.
The report provides a qualitative analysis of the workforce training needs required to deliver 31GW of forecast installations in six target markets: North America, China (Mainland), Taiwan, Japan, Vietnam, and South Korea.
The offshore wind power industry will need over 77,000 GWO-trained on-site workers to fulfil 2020-2024 market forecasts in these six target markets, or 2.5 persons per MW per wind farm.
Key bottlenecks for training include lack of training centres, standard familiarity and risk of training standards being perceived as “imposed”.
Having a trained workforce based on GWO standards is necessary to ensure health and safety of workers, secure the long-term sustainability of the sector, create thousands of local jobs and power the global energy transition.
The impacts of COVID-19 on both workforce and wind turbine supply chain are yet to be fully quantified, although GWEC Market Intelligence expects there to be minor impacts for the markets highlighted in the report, and GWO has begun rolling out digital training platforms to continue training the workforce during the crisis.
The Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) and Global Wind Organisation (GWO) have published a new report that highlights the need for over 77,000 trained on-site workers to deliver forecast installations in six key emerging markets for offshore wind between 2020-2024.

The first report of its kind, Powering the Future: Global Offshore Wind Workforce Outlook 2020-2024 provides a qualitative analysis of the workforce training needs required to fulfill offshore market forecasts in North America, China, Taiwan, Japan, Vietnam and South Korea. Research determined that 2.5 persons per MW per project are needed to deliver the 31GW forecast for these six markets.

The research was built upon GWO training data and GWEC Market Intelligence forecasts, combined with data from Renewables Consulting Group’s GRIP database and a series of industry interviews.

The Powering the Future report also underscores key workforce supply chain bottlenecks that must be addressed in order to realise these large-scale training needs. Barriers include a lack of training centres, lack of familiarity with standards and risk of standards being perceived as “imposed” and unreflective of local context. Additionally, the current COVID-19 crisis will pose a new challenge to both workforce and turbine supply chains to reach the world’s offshore wind ambitions.

Ben Backwell, CEO at GWEC, said: “The offshore wind industry is growing exponentially and there is no doubt that it will become a major driver of the energy transition across the world, with GWEC Market Intelligence forecasting 51GW of new offshore installations globally by 2024. The appetite for offshore wind is strong with investors and policymakers alike as more and more ambitious targets are put in place, but we need a trained workforce ready to realise these goals”.

“The findings in this report are an important tool to match global market trends with local training needs and build a coherent roadmap for thriving offshore wind industries in emerging markets. These markets are moving faster than we have ever seen before, and it is crucial that workforce training keeps up to build a good reputation for the sector and ensure growth opportunities for years to come”.

Jakob Lau Holst, CEO at GWO, added: “Having a GWO trained workforce is often the missing piece of the puzzle when considering a new offshore wind project in any given market, but this should be seen as a top priority in nascent markets to secure their long-term growth and create thousands of local jobs. The offshore wind industry needs to be a leader in health and safety to attract the best talent and ensure the sustainability of the workforce, having standardised training is the most effective way to accomplish this”.

“GWO already has training centres in China, the US and Taiwan, but we will need to ramp up training centres in these regions drastically to train the necessary workforce of almost 78,000 people. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, GWO is also rolling out digital training platforms to ensure continuity in training and continue driving forward the global energy transition”, he added.

This report is the first output of GWEC and GWO’s partnership signed in November 2019 and is supported by research partners Renewables Consulting Group.