Wind Industry Will Create Many New Jobs across Value Chain

Durham, N.C. - As the country continues to support greater reliance on wind energy for electricity generation, the wind industry could restore some jobs lost in the automotive industry and create many new jobs across the value chain, according to a new report released by the Center on Globalization, Governance & Competitiveness (CGGC) at Duke University.

“Increased adoption of wind power technologies could have significant positive economic implications for the United States.”
—Gary Gereffi, Duke professor of sociology

The “Wind Power: Generating Electricity and Employment” report is part of the ongoing series, Manufacturing Climate Solutions, by CGGC that presents new research linking U.S. jobs with selected low-carbon technologies that can help combat global warming. The Wind Power report reveals hidden economic opportunities that exist within the supply chains that provide parts and labor for the wind power industry.

“American companies have a presence in each sector of the value chain,” says Gary Gereffi, a Duke professor of sociology and one of the report's authors. “Increased adoption of wind power technologies could have significant positive economic implications for the United States.” 

The report explains that “The wind power value chain incorporates five main stages: materials; components; manufacture; logistics, development and operations (which includes project development, geotechnical services, transportation, construction, and operations and maintenance). U.S. companies have a presence in each sector of the value chain, from materials production and component manufacturing to project development and construction.”

Simplified Wind Power Value Chain
Simplified Wind Power Value Chain
Graphic courtesy of Center on Globalization, Governance & Competitiveness

The report reviews and analyzes a wide range of information with 64 references cited, providing a summary of the current state of the wind industry along with projections for future growth:

  • Wind turbine parts manufactured in the U.S. grew from less than 30% in 2005 to 50% in 2008.
  • 55 wind turbine and wind turbine component manufacturing facilities were added or expanded in 2008, which led to the direct creation of 13,000 new jobs.
  • Small businesses currently make up over 90% of renewable and efficiency industries.
  • The growth of the wind power industry in 2008 represents an investment of about $17 billion.
  • $2.5 billion worth of wind turbine imports came into the U.S. from Europe and Asia in 2008.
  • 700 companies in Michigan and 532 companies in Ohio are emerging wind power manufacturing industry participants.
  • 100 MW of installed wind power capacity provides 310 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs in manufacturing, 67 contracting and installation jobs, and 9.5 jobs in operation and maintenance every year.
  • The wind industry could support 500,000 jobs by 2030.
  • An additional 3 million jobs in construction and wind project development are also projected by 2030.

The report concludes that “Further development of the domestic wind power market will create extensive U.S.-based job opportunities in materials production, component manufacturing, wind farm construction, transportation and research and development. Continued government support in the form of Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) and tax credits will ensure sustained growth of the U.S. wind power market, allowing the country to maintain its position as the world leader in installed wind power capacity.”