Offshore Wind Industry in U.S. Needs Supply Chain Investments

Demand for cleaner energy is spurring economic development in early-adopting states

Navigate to:

Offshore Wind Industry in U.S. Needs Supply Chain Investments
A person in a button-down shirt and slacks has a broad smile while crouching between two white wind turbine blades laying on graduated shallow wood block steps.
Centura College wind turbine certification coordinator Tracey Butts, seen here on the school's Newport News, Virginia, campus, teaches students how to service wind turbines. Many will go on to work on a 170-plus turbine project that is being installed off the coast of nearby Virginia Beach.
The Pew Charitable Trusts

As the push to move to a clean energy economy in the U.S. accelerates, the offshore wind (OSW) industry has the potential to advance the transition by creating jobs, improving infrastructure, and stimulating local economies. With a national goal of developing 30 gigawatts (GW) of energy from OSW by 2030, a U.S.-based industry could attract $12 billion in direct private investment annually while reducing overall emissions, according to the Department of Energy (DOE). Generating 30GW of energy from offshore wind would power approximately 10 million homes annually.

Although there is growing demand, without accessible, predictable, and affordable supplies to complete these projects, the promise of the domestic offshore wind industry is at risk. To better realize OSW potential in the U.S., the market will need to see enabling policy and infrastructure investments necessary to fortify the OSW supply chain. This could lead to the creation of up to 49,000 manufacturing and supplier jobs, according to the DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)—a significant increase from the just over 1,000 workers the industry employed in 2022.

In fact, as of mid-2023, current and planned OSW projects amounted to 52GW of energy—nearly double the 2030 goal.

Offshore Wind Industry Shows High  Economic Potential: U.S. must invest more in domestic supply chain to hit goal of 30 gigawatts by 2030

According to NREL’s analysis, $22.4 billion in public and private investment is needed by 2030. This includes funding for upgrading ports to prepare and stage wind components, building new vessels to facilitate turbine transfer and installation, and facilities to make and assemble turbine components. To hit the 30GW-by-2030 goal, the U.S. would need 2,100 OSW turbines operating and transmitting power to the grid, NREL says. To reach that number will require 58 crew transfer vessels, four to six turbine installation vessels, and 23 more major component manufacturing facilities.

Building out a robust domestic supply chain—from the massive blades that power the wind turbines to the nuts and bolts that hold them together—will be key to the success of the OSW industry and the continued growth of the American clean energy economy. As the OSW industry navigates through current headwinds caused by global supply chain constraints and inflation, the U.S. government can alleviate pressure and streamline efficiency by doubling down on the domestic supply chain.

The U.S. supply chain to date

As the U.S. domestic supply chain grows from infancy into full-fledged viability, there are ways states can attract industry development with tax incentives, grants, workforce training programs, and more. These incentives, coupled with substantial federal support—including the Department of Transportation’s (DOT’s) Port Infrastructure Development Program grant and the investment and production tax credits for offshore wind—are already helping some states make the OSW market far more attractive to industry.

Already, through May 2023, industry and government invested $2.6 billion in 12 offshore wind ports and manufacturing facilities across the country, as summarized by the DOE. These facilities will produce wind turbine components such as blades, towers, floating platforms, and cables for years to come. Even more supply manufacturing facilities have been announced across a dozen states, which will boost economies from Massachusetts to Texas once they come online.

A path forward

With smart policies and forward-looking infrastructure investments, coastal and inland states can benefit from the burgeoning multibillion-dollar OSW industry. Taking this route would spur job gains and economic development and help build a domestic OSW supply chain that can power the U.S. toward a fully clean energy future.

Laura Lightbody directs The Pew Charitable Trusts’ energy modernization project. Courtney Durham Shane works on the project.

Spotlight on Mental Health

Composite image of modern city network communication concept

Learn the Basics of Broadband from Our Limited Series

Sign up for our four-week email course on Broadband Basics

Quick View

How does broadband internet reach our homes, phones, and tablets? What kind of infrastructure connects us all together? What are the major barriers to broadband access for American communities?

What Is Antibiotic Resistance—and How Can We Fight It?

Sign up for our four-week email series The Race Against Resistance.

Quick View

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria, also known as “superbugs,” are a major threat to modern medicine. But how does resistance work, and what can we do to slow the spread? Read personal stories, expert accounts, and more for the answers to those questions in our four-week email series: Slowing Superbugs.

Explore Pew’s new and improved
Fiscal 50 interactive

Your state's stats are more accessible than ever with our new and improved Fiscal 50 interactive:

  • Maps, trends, and customizable charts
  • 50-state rankings
  • Analysis of what it all means
  • Shareable graphics and downloadable data
  • Proven fiscal policy strategies


Welcome to the new Fiscal 50

Key changes include:

  • State pages that help you keep track of trends in your home state and provide national and regional context.
  • Interactive indicator pages with highly customizable and shareable data visualizations.
  • A Budget Threads feature that offers Pew’s read on the latest state fiscal news.

Learn more about the new and improved Fiscal 50.