ORIGINAL REPORTING: The Potential And Reality of U.S. Offshore Wind
The new offshore wind playbook: Inside the feds' plan to spur 86 GW by 2050; Falling costs and proximity to load centers will make offshore wind a major resource, a new DOE/DOI report predicts
Herman K. Trabish, October 6, 2016 (Utility Dive)
Editor’s note: It is now unclear whether U.S. offshore wind’s potential will be realized under the embattled Trump administration. It is yet another example of how this administration’s incompetence has led to corruption and missed opportunities.
There is potential for a build of 22 GW of offshore wind along U.S. coasts by 2030 and 86 GW by 2050. In fact, with turbine technologies now in use in Europe, U.S. coastal waters have a technical offshore wind capacity potential of 2,058 GW, which could produce 7,200 TWh per year, almost twice the total 2015 U.S. electricity generation, according to the just-updated National Offshore Wind Strategy report from the Departments of Energy (DOE) and Interior (DOI). While reaching that total technical potential is unlikely, policy actions described in the paper can help streamline the development of the 14.6 GW of possible capacity in offshore tracts already leased by Interior. Those policy actions could also help drive the already-falling cost of offshore wind to below $100/MWh at some U.S. coastal sites by 2025 and at many more sites by 2030.
With policy to support the first tranche of growth that is already in the pipeline and the increasingly affordable economics that scaling would deliver, the offshore sector would be on its way toward 86 GW of installed capacity by 2050. That build-out would produce a 1.8% reduction in cumulative greenhouse gas emissions compared to the current U.S. power mix. That would save $50 billion in avoided global damages, the DOE/DOI paper reports. Decreased air pollution could save $2 billion in avoided mortality, morbidity, and economic damages. It would reduce electric generation water use 5% and smooth the electricity price volatility created by fossil fuel-generated power. Finally, the paper adds, it would support $440 million in annual lease payments into the U.S. Treasury, approximately $680 million in annual property tax payments, and approximately 160,000 gross jobs… click here for more