DOE, DOI Report: U.S. Can Develop 86 GW of Offshore Wind

Block Island Wind Project

The U.S. Departments of Energy and the Interior published a collaborative plan to continue accelerating the development of offshore wind energy in the U.S.

The “National Offshore Wind Strategy: Facilitating the Development of the Offshore Wind Industry in the United States,” states the U.S. could develop 86 GW of offshore wind by 2050. The strategy details the current state of U.S. offshore wind, presents the actions and innovations needed to reduce deployment costs and timelines, and provides a roadmap to support the growth and success of the industry.

The strategy was published just weeks after construction finished at the U.S.’s first commercial offshore wind farm off of Block Island, Rhode Island. The 30-MW wind farm was the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s (BOEM) first right-of-way grant and is expected to begin operating by the end of 2016.

The strategy identifies key challenges facing the industry and more than 30 specific actions that DOE and DOI can take over the next five years to address those challenges. The actions fall into three strategic areas:

  1. DOI proposes jointly developing standard data collection guidelines to foster predictability and inform safe project development, while DOE will work to increase annual energy production and reliability of offshore wind plants.
  2. DOI commits to numerous actions to ensure that the regulatory process is predictable, transparent, efficient and informed by lessons learned from regulators in other countries. Additionally, as the first generation of installed projects come online, DOI and DOE will collect field data on parts of offshore development including impacts on marine life and turbine radar interference.
  3. Studies are needed to help quantify the broad grid integration impacts of adding significant amounts of offshore wind energy to the power system.

Nancy Sopko, Manager, Advocacy and Federal Legislative Affairs with the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), said the government made great strides with the release of the study.

"We commend the Department of Energy and Department of the Interior, through the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, for their commitment to developing offshore wind power as a new, inexhaustible American energy resource," Sopko said. "The National Offshore Wind Strategy, five years in the making, builds on tremendous momentum created by the first American offshore wind farm which completed construction this summer."

Click to read the full report.

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