Until today around 1 GW of offshore wind capacity has been realized in Dutch waters of the North Sea. For the near future the Dutch government has the policy to have five offshore wind farms of circa 700 MW each, realized as from 2019 until 2024. This is the so-called Roadmap 2023. Next, the ambition is to install around 6 GW in the period 2024-2030. This results in an expansion of the installed offshore wind power in the following years: from around 1 GW in 2019 to 10.6 GW in 2030.
Offshore wind energy contributes to a strengthening of the economic activities in the Netherlands and to reach the targets of the Dutch Climate Agreement (Dutch: Klimaatakkoord; MinEZK, 2019a). Therefore, it is relevant to have more in-depth information about employment developments in the Dutch offshore wind energy industry and insights regarding needed competencies. Available publications indicating employment (developments) in offshore wind in the Netherlands are not useful for human capital planning and education strategies. For this reason The Netherlands Enterprise Agency RVO and TKI Wind op Zee commissioned this study with the following objective: specify Roadmap 2023 employment in offshore wind at such a level of detail that the insights can be used to develop plans for education and inflow of future employees to the offshore wind sector. The request was to investigate certain fields of activities that are from employment and education perspectives relevant, namely: foundation supply, foundation and turbine installation, array cable installation, installation support, wind farm operations, turbine maintenance, structural inspection and maintenance, and maintenance and service logistics.
The study used a bottom-up approach to investigate employment developments: workload estimations on the level of specific fields of activities. Competencies were analysed by using the following framework: a) functional competencies, and b) foundational competencies. This study was done in close collaboration with key stakeholders from the Dutch offshore wind industry (e.g. Deutsche Windtechnik, Gemini, OutSmart, SeaZip, Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy, SIF, Smulders, and Van Oord) via interviews, various iterations on employment figures, workshops, factory visits, and feedback on draft versions of this report.
Conclusion is that the (further) developed methodologies are well suited to come up with direct employment figures and competencies overviews able to support plans for education and inflow of future employees to the offshore wind sector.
Regarding direct employment generated by the execution of Roadmap 2023 the following conclusions can be drawn:
- The one-off cumulative direct employment over the coming 5 years due to the Roadmap 2023 execution is approx. 2,480 person-years when considering the 5 studied construction phase packages. Of this number around 1,290 person-years are related to foundation supply. Approx. 810 person-years relate to vessel crew.
- The yearly recurring direct employment with respect to studied operations and maintenance phase packages is around 320 FTE, as from 2023 when all Roadmap 2023 wind farms are in operation. Circa two-third of this yearly recurring direct employment consists of work for Dutch technicians.
- The employment estimations are in the upper side of the figures’ ranges, looking at developments in product and process innovations, economies of scale, and learning curves. It should be noted that the yearly outflow of professionals and export-related employment are not yet incorporated in the above-mentioned figures.
Regarding competencies the overall conclusion is that the created competency framework for this study is useful for industry and education institutes to discuss and align education and training options and needs the coming years.
Conclusion is that a substantial amount of the direct employment in the offshore wind industry is related to EQF (European qualifications framework) levels 1-5. In general, existing education programmes are serving the offshore wind industry when looking at the needed functional competencies. There is room for specialistic courses/trainings developed and organised in cooperation between education institutes and the industry.
It can be concluded that English reading, writing and conversation competencies are very important in the fast developing and international offshore wind sector, on all levels (VET, bachelor, and master level).
Career path information of professionals is not recorded by education institutes; this information could be useful to better align education strategies and yearly inflow of needed professionals.
Employment analysis (2019-2023) of various fields of activities in the Dutch offshore wind sector