The Global Offshore Wind Report 2023 by the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) reveals that the offshore wind industry had its second-best year in 2022, adding 8.8 GW of new clean energy capacity. The report forecasts a colossal 380 GW of new offshore wind capacity by 2032, necessitating a trained and diverse workforce to meet the industry’s complex demands.
Record Growth in Offshore Wind
According to the latest Global Offshore Wind Report 2023 by GWEC, the offshore wind industry connected 8.8 GW of new clean energy to the grid in 2022, marking its second-best year ever. The report also projects that a staggering 380 GW of new offshore wind capacity will be built by 2032, indicating a significant expansion into oceans worldwide.
Workforce Challenges and Opportunities
The rapid expansion of offshore wind projects will require a mobilized, skilled, and diverse workforce. From biologists and marine engineers to logistics specialists, the industry faces a complex set of workforce requirements. Early planning at the national level is crucial to address occupational gaps and training needs.
A 2022 study by GWEC and the Global Wind Organisation (GWO) estimated that at least 569,000 trained technicians would be needed globally through 2026 to construct, install, operate, and maintain wind projects. Nearly 15% of these, or around 74,400 people, would be specifically required for offshore wind installations.
Bridging the Skills Gap
The industry faces challenges such as skills gaps, misalignments between fossil fuel job losses and renewable industry job gains, and health and safety issues. To overcome these, the wind industry needs to engage with policymakers and educational institutions to promote the necessary skills and workforce development.
Advantages of Wind Industry Jobs
The report highlights several comparative advantages of jobs in the wind industry:
- Long-term job security, surpassing fossil fuel industries as of 2022.
- Localized and long-term nature of Operations & Maintenance (O&M), providing community jobs for about 25 years.
- Wage security, unaffected by the volatility of fuel prices.
- Higher return on investment for local and national authorities compared to fossil fuel investments.
The report urges policymakers to:
- Develop targeted programmes and skills frameworks for local populations.
- Collaborate with the industry to create incentives for upskilling.
- Invest in workforce data and forecasting for early identification of skills gaps.
- Partner with educational institutions to attract the next generation of wind industry workers.
A Just Transition
As the industry grows, it must also focus on fostering a just transition, which includes workforce diversity, equal access to training, and decent work conditions along the entire value chain for wind energy.
The offshore wind industry is poised for unprecedented growth, but this expansion comes with its own set of challenges and opportunities, particularly in workforce development. Proactive planning and collaboration between various stakeholders will be key to harnessing this potential effectively.
GWEC is a member-based organisation that represents the entire wind energy sector. The members of GWEC represent over 1,500 companies, organisations and institutions in more than 80 countries, including manufacturers, developers, component suppliers, research institutes, national wind and renewables associations, electricity providers, finance and insurance companies.
Youcan find full report here