DoE eyes 54GW US offshore by 2030

UNITED STATES: The US has sufficient offshore wind energy resources to consider installing at least 54GW of offshore wind by 2030, a report from the Department of Energy (DoE) has found.

A mock up of Cape Wind, which is expected to be among the first US offshore projects

The National Offshore Wind Energy Grid Interconnection study found that 54GW was a highly practical figure, but added that in theory a significantly larger amount of offshore wind could be developed in American waters.

The study considered wind resources, seabed conditions, and projected project costs.

It also showed that the appropriate technologies already exist for interconnecting large amounts of offshore wind energy to the US grid.

At a regional or national level, offshore wind energy was found to have the potential to provide "significant value". The report said that while initial set-up costs are high, the introduction of large-scale offshore wind could result in cost savings in energy provision overall.

Policy changes at the state level were highlighted as key to promoting offshore wind. The report said that states must introduce policies requiring utilities to buy power from offshore wind projects through renewable portfolio standards.

Federal action is also needed, in order to reduce the permitting and siting processes, it said. "Although great strides have been made to reduce the permitting schedule from the 12 years it took for Cape Wind to between two and four years today, further enhancements by the multitude of federal permitting and regulatory agencies are needed."