Offshore Wind Energy

photo of offshore wind turbines

The U.S. offshore wind energy project pipeline has reached a total of 40 gigawatts (GW) of capacity, including the operational 30-megawatt (MW) Block Island Wind Farm and the 12-MW Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind pilot project. Eighteen projects in the U.S. offshore pipeline have reached the permitting phas, and eight states have set their own offshroe wind energy procurement goals, which total 40 GW by 2040. See a summary of state offshore renewable energy activities, and learn about the six new lease areas auctioned in New York Bight, two new lease areas auctioned in Carolina Long Bay, and plans to lease new areas in California, Gulf of Mexico, Central Atlantic, Oregon, and Gulf of Maine. Globally, pipeline

In 2021, the Biden administration announced efforts to reach 30 GW of offshore wind energy capacity by 2030. The U.S. Department of Energy'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 energy 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 energy.

Impacts of Siting Considerations on Offshore Wind Technical Potential in the United States

This analysis from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory provides estimates of the offshore wind energy potential in the United States based on capacity density using both an upper and lower deployment bound and considering three levels of technology improvements.

Advancing Offshore Wind Energy in the United States, U.S. Department of Energy Strategic Contributions Toward 30 Gigawatts and Beyond

This strategy provides a comprehensive summary of the U.S. Department of Energy's role in the nationwide effort to deploy 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy by 2030 and to set the nation on a pathway to 110 gigawatts or more by 2050.

Offshore Wind Market Report: 2023 Edition

This report provides an overview of domestic and global offshore wind energy progress. Every year it provides wind policymakers, regulators, developers, researchers, engineers, financiers, supply chain participants, and other stakeholders with up-to-date quantitative information about the offshore wind market development trends.

Floating Offshore Wind Shot

The U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Earthshot Initiative now includes the Floating Offshore Wind Shot, which will help drive the design, development, and manfuacturing needed to develop floating offshore wind energy in the United States, tackling key remaining technical challenges to reaching the nation's clean energy and climate goals while creating workforce and economic opportunities for U.S. communities.

WINDExchange Offshore Wind Energy Webinar Series

Watch all the videos in the webinar series or explore each title below to learn more.

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 U.S. Department of Energy’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.

Technology Above the Water

In this webinar, hosted by the U.S. Department of Energy's WINDExchange initiative, National Renewable Energy Laboratory offshore wind expert Walt Musial discusses above-water offshore wind technology, including wind turbine technology and wind resource assessments and modeling. See the slides.

Technology Below the Water

In this webinar hosted by the U.S. Department of Energy’s WINDExchange initiative, National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the University of Massachusetts Amherst offshore wind energy experts discuss below-the-water offshore wind energy technology, including foundations and cables. Specific aspects of offshore wind energy that are covered by the final webinar in NREL’s Offshore Wind Technology Basics series include fixed bottom turbines, floating turbines, mooring lines for floating turbines, cabling options and installation, and decommissioning. This virtual event also addresses the technology options and development considerations for diverse seafloor and oceanographic characteristics.See the slides.

Navigating Offshore Wind Energy Decision-Making Processes

In this webinar hosted by the U.S. Department of Energy’s WINDExchange initiative, presenters addressed the decision-making processes for offshore wind energy siting and permitting, covering the points at which community leaders, property owners, and other local stakeholders can meaningfully engage with these processes. Speakers include experts from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the University of Rhode Island, the Special Initiative for Offshore Wind, and the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.

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 energy, describing the spatial variation of levelized cost of energy and levelized avoided cost of energy to understand the economic viability of fixed-bottom and floating offshore wind energy 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 levelized cost of energy and an assessment of the economically viable resource capacity in the United States.

30 GW by 2030: A Supply Chain Road Map for Offshore Wind in the United States

This road map identifies challenges and solutions to developing a nationally focused offshore wind energy supply chain that has the potential to manufacture all major components domestically by 2030.

Offshore Wind Hub

This website provides access to documents related to offshore wind energy 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