August 27 (Renewables Now) - The US wind industry supported 105,500 full-time jobs in 2017, reaching an all-time high, according to a report by the Department of Energy (DOE), released on Friday.
The total includes 43,800 workers involved in construction, development and transportation and around 23,000 employed in wind manufacturing and supply chain. About 18,700 full-time jobs in the sector are related to the operations and maintenance of wind farms.
The record-high employment level was reached as some manufacturers increased their workforce or expanded their production facilities. The DOE noted that wind turbine suppliers have enjoyed “generally strong” profitability in the past four years and the three major turbine producers serving the US market have domestic factories. Still, the US remains dependent on wind product imports from a range of countries as domestic manufacturing is strong only for some turbine components. The highest level of domestic production is for the assembly of wind nacelles, over 85%, while manufacturing for blades and hubs is between 50% and 70%.
Overall, the US spent USD 11 billion (EUR 9.5bn) for new wind farms last year, deploying 7,017 MW of new capacity. This brought the total cumulative for the country to 88,973 MW.
(USD 1.0 = EUR 0.860)