The Department of Energy (DOE) and the Department of the Interior (DOI) have joined forces to create the National Offshore Wind Strategy in the hopes that the US will continue investing in large offshore wind energy projects.
The strategy’s Introductory Message includes the following: ‘With almost 80% of U.S. electricity demand located in coastal states and total offshore wind energy technical potential equal to about double the nation’s demand for electricity, offshore wind energy has the potential to contribute significantly to a clean, affordable, and secure national energy mix.’
This new national strategy is a part of the Obama administration’s Climate Action Plan and aims to support the reduction of greenhouse emissions under the Paris Climate Agreement (preventing global warming from exceeding 2°C).
So far there are 11 commercial leases for offshore wind projects along the Atlantic coast alone, and many more are being proposed, including off the coast of California and Hawaii. According to the strategy, “BOEM has implemented a process through careful planning and public outreach by which offshore wind resource areas are screened to avoid or mitigate many potential conflicts.”
Here is a snippet of the report, on some of the opportunities for offshore wind:
- U.S. offshore wind resources are abundant
- Electricity demand growth and scheduled power plant retirements in coastal states provide significant opportunity for offshore wind development
- Deploying offshore wind could lead to significant electrical system benefits for system operators, utilities, and ratepayers
- A robust offshore wind industry would lead to significant positive environmental and economic external benefits
- Reduced greenhouse gas emissions
- Decreased air pollution from other emissions
- Reduced water consumption
- Greater energy diversity and security
- Increased economic development and employment
The executive summary ends with a very promising statement: ‘Federal government action can supplement the work of states, utilities, the wind industry, the environmental community, researchers, and other stakeholders to facilitate offshore wind development. DOE and DOI aim to provide essential federal leadership to help overcome certain challenges and help the nation to realize the benefits of offshore wind. This strategy lays out 34 concrete actions in seven action areas that DOE and DOI can take to facilitate responsible, robust, and sustainable offshore wind development in the United States.’