Offshore wind power facts

FACTS

Offshore wind is America’s next major energy source, representing a generational opportunity to create jobs and bolster the economy. It is an abundant clean energy solution for large population centers looking to source more of their power from clean sources, and falling costs make it increasingly economical.

Reports

This first-of-its-kind study details clean energy’s potential to unlock economic growth and achieve majority renewable electricity generation within the next decade.

29,000

States have established more than 29,000 MW of offshore wind procurement targets to date.

9,100

Developers plan to bring 9,100 MW of offshore wind online by 2026 by developing 13 offshore wind projects.

83,000

Offshore wind could create 83,000 new, well-paying jobs by 2030.

Inexhaustible, cost-effective, clean power for coastal populations.

Benefits of offshore wind power

Offshore wind is an abundant clean energy solution for many coastal electricity load centers, which have a greater proportion of population and energy demand.

Proximity to Americans

Roughly 80% of Americans live within 200 miles of the coast. Offshore wind can generate significant amounts of electricity close to consumers.

Proximity to highest energy demand

Coastal load centers have the highest energy demand and the highest wholesale electricity prices due to this demand.

High speeds, stable generation

The U.S. has world-class offshore wind resources, capable of supplying large amounts of affordable, reliable power.

Enormous energy potential

The U.S. Department of Energy found that the U.S. could install a total of 86,000 MW of offshore projects by 2050.

Jobs & economic benefits

With stable policy in place, the U.S. could create 83,000 jobs by 2030 through offshore wind development.

Harness oil & gas expertise

Offshore wind taps into the skills of U.S. oil & gas workers, who have decades of experience with ocean energy infrastructure.

Electricity prices locked in for decades

Offshore wind prices can be locked in for 20 years or more, acting as a hedge against volatile fossil fuel prices.

How offshore wind power works

How offshore wind power works

The wind blows across a wind turbine’s blades

Wind energy refers to the process of creating electricity using air flows that occur naturally in the earth’s atmosphere. Just like land-based turbines, modern offshore wind turbines capture kinetic energy from the wind and generate electricity. The first step is wind blowing across turbine blades.

How offshore wind power works

Rotating blades transfer power to a variety of drivetrain types

Offshore wind turbines use a variety of drivetrain designs to extract power from the wind: in all varieties of designs, however, generators in a range of configurations create electricity from the rotating power and turning a generator.

How offshore wind power works

Conditioning, collection, and export

DC power from generators is converted to AC electricity and transferred to cables buried throughout the footprint of the wind farm. These centralize the electricity to export cables that deliver the power to be used many miles away.

The Economic Benefits of Offshore Wind

Building America’s offshore wind project pipeline will bring enormous economic benefits to communities across America. Offshore wind will create a new American supply chain, tens of thousands of jobs, revitalize port communities, and stimulate investment into local economies across the country. Proposed investments by the clean power industry includes at least $2.9 billion across manufacturing, ports, vessels, workforce development and research areas, with many more on the way.  Explore our offshore wind proposed investment map to learn more.

All you wanted to know about offshore wind power

Frequently asked questions
Can offshore wind co-exist with commercial fishing and marine species?

Yes. There are limited impacts to marine ecosystems or seafood supply from offshore wind. Although offshore wind lease areas encompass hundreds of square kilometers, wind turbine structures take up only a small portion of that area. With turbine spacing and layouts coordinated with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and the U.S. Coast Guard, leasing areas can continue to be used for many of the same purposes for which they were originally used, such as commercial and recreational fishing, recreational boating, and tourism-related trips. BOEM solicits extensive public input when designating offshore wind areas.

Will vessels be able to transit through wind farms?

Yes. Neither BOEM nor the Coast Guard will prohibit vessels, including commercial fishing vessels, from transiting through (or fishing within) lease areas. As a part of the BOEM permitting process, developers have to submit a navigation safety risk assessment (NSRA) as a part of their construction and operations plan (COP), which is then reviewed by the Coast Guard and BOEM to ensure compatibility with safe navigation.

What are some of the benefits of offshore wind to the grid and the environment?

Offshore wind is clean, renewable, and reliable and located near the coast. Approximately 50% of the U.S. population lives within 50 miles of the coast. The U.S. has world-class offshore wind resources.

Are there any offshore wind farms or projects presently in the United States?

Yes. The U.S. currently has one operational offshore wind project with many more on the way. The nation’s first commercial offshore wind project, the Block Island Wind Farm, came online in December 2016. Developed by Deepwater Wind, the Block Island Wind Farm is a 30 MW project with five turbines located in state waters off the coast of Block Island, Rhode Island. The two-turbine, 12 MW Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW) pilot project finished construction in June 2020 and commenced commercial operations off the coast of Virginia Beach in January 2021. The CVOW project is the first offshore wind project in federal waters.

The U.S. now has a total offshore wind project pipeline of over 28,000 MW in federal lease areas issued to date. In addition, two offshore wind demonstration projects are planned for development in state waters off Ohio and Maine. Project developers currently expect 14 offshore wind projects totaling 9,112 MW to be operational by 2026.

States are driving strong demand for offshore wind energy and have established targets to procure a total of close to 30,000 MW of offshore wind by 2035.  With stable policies in place, the Department of Energy found the U.S. could develop a total of 86 GW of offshore wind projects by 2050.

Where can I find out more information about offshore wind?

Visit supportoffshorewind.org to learn more about how U.S. offshore wind is poised for exponential growth. Explore video testimonials, peruse articles, reports and other resources, and sign up for updates to learn how our offshore wind energy resources will contribute to U.S. economic growth, job creation, and clean, reliable energy for Americans throughout the country.

Visit ACP’s Resources page to download our latest offshore wind fact sheets, reports, and studies. Subscribe to ACP’s Offshore Wind Weekly: an e-brief that delivers timely, relevant news on the offshore wind industry, directly to your inbox every week.  Sign up here.

The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management also features several useful resources about U.S. offshore wind:

 

 

 

 

 

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