600 MW offshore wind energy in Gulf of Mexico would bring 4,470 jobs

A 600 MW offshore wind farm in the Gulf of Mexico, with a commercial operation date of 2030, would bring some 4,470 jobs and USD 445 million in gross domestic product (GDP) during construction, according to a study released by the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM).

During the operational stage, a wind power project of this capacity would create around 150 ongoing jobs and bring in USD 14 million annually.

BOEM’s Gulf of Mexico OCS office issued two new studies on renewable energy in the Gulf of Mexico at the end of April, developed in cooperation with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

In the Offshore Renewable Energy Technologies in the Gulf of Mexico study, different offshore renewable energy technologies were analysed to determine which are best suited for development in the Gulf of Mexico.

The renewable energy resources evaluated included wind, wave, tidal, current, solar, deepwater source cooling, and hydrogen.

Offshore wind was identified as the leading technology, as it showed the greatest resource potential for the Gulf of Mexico and is the most mature technology of those analysed for the region, according to BOEM.

Following the identification of the most suitable technology, BOEM and NREL further analysed its economic feasibility for selected sites in the Gulf of Mexico.

In the Offshore Wind in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico: Regional Economic Modeling & Site-Specific Analyses study, BOEM and NREL analysed the economic impact of a 600 MW project at a reference site with a commercial operation date of 2030.

The site-specific economic analysis indicated that a single offshore wind project of this size could support approximately 4,470 jobs and USD 445 million in gross domestic product (GDP) during construction and an ongoing 150 jobs and USD 14 million annually from operation and maintenance labor, materials, and services.

The analysis did not include the likely further jobs or impacts in the Gulf of Mexico that may be created while supporting offshore wind projects built in other regions of the U.S., or the world.

NREL announced back in 2017 that it would carry out a survey to examine the feasibility of various potential offshore renewable energy resources in the Gulf of Mexico, primarily offshore wind.

The results of the two studies issued in April 2020 will inform Federal, State, and local strategic renewable energy planning over the next decade, BOEM said.