US eyes 86GW offshore

National strategic plan outlines roadmap for sector out to 2050.

Published on on September 12th, 2016:
The US today unveiled a national strategic plan that paves the way for construction of 86GW of offshore wind by 2050.
Energy secretary Ernest Moniz and interior secretary Sally Jewell said the roadmap will help accelerate the growth of the industry. The National Offshore Wind Strategy: Facilitating the Development of the Offshore Wind Industry in the United States is part of president Barack Obama’s Climate Action Plan. “Offshore wind has experienced enormous progress during the Obama administration,” said Moniz. “The first offshore wind farm has now finished construction, and we have gone from zero offshore wind areas leased before this administration to 11 areas that total the size of Rhode Island,” he said.
Jewell said: “We are confident the strategy we're outlining today will chart a course for additional investment in clean energy technologies that can help power America's future.”

The government intends to focus on three strategic areas.

The first is to reduce technical costs and risks by standardizing data collection to foster predictability and inform safe project development and by working to increase annual energy production and reliability of offshore wind projects.

The second is to support effective stewardship by making the regulatory process predictable, transparent and efficient and include lessons learned from other countries and the first US projects.

The third looks to improve market conditions for investment by quantifying grid integration impacts to help states craft policies supportive of development.

Since 2011, the Energy Department has granted nearly $200m to three demonstration projects led by the University of Maine, Fishermen’s Energy and the Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation. The Interior Department has generated about $16m through competitive lease sales that cover more than one million acres of federal waters. Deepwater Wind recently wrapped up construction of the US’s first commercial offshore project, the 30MW Block Island scheme in Rhode Island state waters, and expects to start commercial operation in November.
The DOE reports that developing 86GW by 2050 would support 160,000 jobs, reduce power sector water consumption by 5%, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 1.8%.

The full plan is available here.