US outlines offshore goals

UNITED STATES: The US government departments of energy (DOE) and interior (DOI) have jointly published a report that envisages 86GW of offshore wind in the US by 2050.

Deepwater Wind's 30MW Block Island offshore project was installed over the summer

It its latest National Offshore Wind Strategy report, the government said the US is looking to develop a "robust and sustainable" offshore wind industry.

"Offshore wind has the opportunity to play a substantial role as a source of domestic, large-scale, affordable electricity for the nation," the report states.

"DOE and DOI developed this strategy as a joint document and have a single overarching goal in its implementation, which is to facilitate the development of a robust and sustainable offshore wind industry in the United States," it said.

The US has just successfully completed installation of its first offshore wind project, the 30MW Block Island site off Rhode Island, north-east US. First power is expected in the coming weeks.

The report states that while offshore wind remains expensive, and is dependent on the local cost of electricity to where projects might be located in the future, offshore wind could be a competitive source of energy — under $100/MWh — in some parts of the US by 2030.

"The decrease in LCOE from $185/MWh (fixed bottom) and $214/MWh (floating) in 2015 to $93/MWh (fixed bottom) and $89/MWh (floating) in 2030 for the cost reduction scenarios demonstrates the substantial cost reduction potential," the report said.

AWEA manager for advocacy and federal legislative affairs, Nancy Sopko said: "We commend the Department of Energy and Department of the Interior, through the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, for their commitment to developing offshore wind power as a new, inexhaustible American energy resource.

"The US is on the path to a brighter energy future — to the benefit of communities who will see cleaner air and American manufacturing that will help build, operate and maintain these wind farms. We look forward to continued engagement with these agencies to further reduce the cost of offshore wind and streamline permitting so that we can get these projects in the water as soon as possible."

You can read the report here.