ORIGINAL REPORTING: U.S. Offshore Wind At Its Creation
'Only a matter of time': U.S. offshore wind struggles to get off the ground; 'Tenacious' developers are attempting to build an industry where others have failed
Herman K. Trabish, March 1, 2016 (Utility Dive)
Editor’s note: Since this story ran, the first U.S. offshore wind project went into service off Rhode Island and new projects are now being planned along the Atlantic coast.
There are over 4,000 GWs of renewable energy potential – over four times the total U.S. electricity demand – resting just a few miles from the biggest population centers in the country and little has been done to harvest it. U.S. offshore wind has been on the verge of getting started for years while industries in Europe and China grow stronger. But Deepwater Wind just brought its 30 MW Block Island pilot project online by the end of 2016 and many say continued backing of the Department of Energy and Bureau of Ocean Wind Management (BOEM) could help U.S. developers harness the plentiful, but pricey, potential of offshore wind. Under the “Smart from the Start” program that pre-identifies areas with the best development prospects, BOEM has issued leases for tracts of ocean on the nation’s outer continental shelf that offer an estimated installed capacity of at least 5,768 MW and possibly as much as 13,538 MW.
Global offshore wind set an installation record in 2015, upping its 1,069 MW performance in 2014 to at least 3,996 MW, largely in Europe and Asia. Cumulative global capacity is now over 11,800 MW and it is on track to reach as much as 47,000 MW by 2020. While no U.S. projects have been completed, there are 21 projects representing 15,650 MW of capacity in development. Thirteen of those, representing 5,939 MW, are in some degree of advanced development). Developers with projects totaling 3,305 MW say they will be online by 2020. DOE’s Wind Vision, a long-term look at the U.S. wind industry, forecasts deployment of 22,000 MW of offshore wind by 2030 and 86,000 MW by 2050. Future deployment, it says, will be along the Atlantic, Pacific, and Gulf of Mexico coasts and in the Great Lakes… click here for more