Offshore Wind Energy
The overall size of the U.S. offshore wind pipeline grew from 25,464 megawatts (MW) to 25,824 MW in 2018. The 25,824 MW that make up the U.S. offshore wind project development and operating pipeline comprise one operating project (Block Island Wind Farm), eight projects that have reached the permitting phase with either a construction and operations plan or a viable offtake mechanism for sale of electricity, 15 commercial lease areas in federal waters with exclusive site control, 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. In addition, there is one Bureau of Ocean Energy Management research lease in Virginia federal waters. 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.
This annual report provides stakeholders with quantitative information about the offshore wind market, technology, and cost trends in the United States and worldwide.
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.
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.
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.
This website provides access to documents related to offshore wind policy, technology, economics, and siting.
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.