UPDATED 3:06 PM PT – Thursday, May 27, 2021
Joe Biden has promised that his push for renewable energy will create more manufacturing jobs for Americans. He was reported saying, “there is simply no reason the blades for wind turbines can’t be built in Pittsburgh instead of Beijing. No reason.”
Except, in reality, most of the manufacturing jobs will actually be created in Europe.
The Vineyard Wind project, off the coast of Massachusetts, is expected to produce enough electricity to power 400,000 homes in New England by 2023. The windfarm is a joint venture between Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners and Avangrid Inc. which is part of the Iberdrola group.
Wonderful news from our partner @VineyardWindUS! “Today’s Record of Decision is not about the start of a single project, but the launch of a new industry,” says Vineyard Wind CEO Lars Pederson. Let’s get to work on #offshorewind! https://t.co/X1uHHQ1EKJ
— Greentown Labs (@GreentownLabs) May 24, 2021
According to the managing director of Iberdola Renewables Offshore, Jonathon Cole, smaller components will be manufactured locally, but the bigger parts will not.
Insiders say it could take years before developers can commit to building new American factories. To get things moving, developers would need to see a deep pipeline of approved U.S. projects, along with a clear set of regulatory incentives like federal and state tax breaks.
Christy Guthman, commercial leader of U.S. offshore at General Electric’s renewable division, also said that opening a factory would be costly and time consuming. It would require permits and large amounts of space near the coast.
Guthman’s company is set to supply Vineyard Wind with 62 turbines. However, the major parts for those turbines, which are twice the height of the Statue of Liberty, will be made in its factories in France.
Biden’s administration has unveiled a goal to install 30 gigawatts of offshore wind power capacity by 2030. That is roughly the amount that already exists in Europe’s two-decade-old industry.
Experts have estimated more than 2,000 turbines will be needed to meet that target, but U.S. factories probably won’t be finished until 2024 or 2025. This would mean those jobs may not materialize until after Biden’s time in the White House is up.