Offshore Wind Energy

photo of offshore wind turbines

The overall size of the U.S. offshore wind pipeline grew from 25,824 megawatts (MW) to 28,521 MW in 2019. The 28,521 MW that make up the U.S. offshore wind project development and operating pipeline comprise one operating project (Block Island Wind Farm) and one under construction, 12 projects that have reached the permitting phase with either a construction and operations plan or a viable offtake mechanism for sale of electricity, seven commercial lease areas in federal waters with exclusive site control, eight in the planning stage, two unleased wind energy areas, and five projects (all Pacific-based) that have submitted unsolicited applications to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the government agency that regulates energy development in federal waters. The pipeline has three projects located in state waters, including the operating Block Island Wind Farm, the Aqua Ventus I floating-wind project in Maine, and the Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation Icebreaker Wind project on Lake Erie. See a summary of state offshore renewable energy activities.

The Energy Department's Wind Vision Report quantified the benefits from up to 22 gigawatts of installed offshore wind by 2030 and 86 gigawatts by 2050. In fact, the Wind Vision scenarios show that by 2050, offshore wind could be available in all coastal regions nationwide.

Despite the fact that projects planned for U.S. waters often face unique planning, siting, and permitting challenges, interest in developing offshore wind energy exists in coastal areas because of the proximity of offshore wind resources to population centers, the potential for local economic development benefits, and superior wind resources.

More Information on Offshore Wind Energy

These resources provide additional information about offshore, utility-scale wind.

National Offshore Wind Strategy: Facilitating the Development of the Offshore Wind Industry in the United States

The U.S. Department of Energy, through its Wind Energy Technologies Office, and the U.S. Department of the Interior, through its Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, jointly produced this updated national strategy to facilitate the responsible development of offshore wind energy in the United States.

Wind Energy Technology Data Update: 2020 Edition

This annual report provides stakeholders with quantitative information about the offshore wind market, technology, and cost trends in the United States and worldwide.

Overview of Floating Offshore Wind

While floating wind energy systems have yet to be deployed at full industrial scale, the floating offshore wind energy project pipeline is growing rapidly. Walt Musial from the Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory presented a webinar offering a basic introduction to floating offshore wind. Floating Offshore Wind 101 Webinar Q and A is also available.

Overview of Fixed Bottom Offshore Wind

Walt Musial from the Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory presented a webinar introducing an offshore wind fixed-bottom foundation technology. The presentation offers basic technical information, including offshore wind basics, a discussion of foundation types, and construction considerations. Fixed-Bottom Offshore Wind Webinar Q and A is also available.

An Assessment of the Economic Potential of Offshore Wind in the United States from 2015 to 2030

National Renewable Energy Laboratory researchers published an assessment of the economic resource potential of offshore wind, describing the spatial variation of levelized cost of energy (LCOE) and levelized avoided cost of energy to understand the economic viability of fixed-bottom and floating offshore wind technologies across major U.S. coastal areas between 2015 and 2030. This study offers insights into the available offshore wind resource by region at different levels of LCOE and an assessment of the economically viable resource capacity in the United States.

Offshore Wind Jobs and Economic Development Impacts in the United States: Four Regional Scenarios

Using the offshore wind Jobs and Economic Development Impacts (JEDI) model, researchers developed four case studies of potential offshore wind deployment scenarios in different regions of the United States: the Southeast, the Great Lakes, the Gulf Coast, and the Mid-Atlantic.

Offshore Wind Hub

This website provides access to documents related to offshore wind policy, technology, economics, and siting.

Tethys Database

The Tethys database is a knowledge management system that actively gathers, organizes, and disseminates information on the environmental effects of marine and wind energy development.

Maps & Data