New DOE Report Details Domestic Offshore Wind Industry Potential
Announced at the American Wind Energy Association’s Offshore WINDPOWER Conference in Baltimore, Md., the “2014–2015 U.S. Offshore Wind Technologies Market Report” was prepared for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). The report shows strong progress for the U.S. offshore wind market, including the start of construction of the nation’s first commercial-scale offshore wind farm.
American developer Deepwater Wind began construction of the Block Island Wind Farm off the coast of Rhode Island this spring. The 30-MW project is expected to be operational by fall 2016. Offshore wind projects in eight additional states are in the advanced stages of development.
The offshore wind farm is one of 21 projects totaling 15,650 MW in the planning and development pipeline. Of these 21 U.S. projects, 13 projects totaling nearly 6,000 MW (enough to power 1.8 million homes) are in the more advanced stages of development, while 12 projects have announced a commercial operation date by 2020. With 80% of the nation’s electricity demand coming from coastal states, offshore wind could play a crucial role in meeting our energy needs.
The “2014-2015 U.S. Offshore Wind Technologies Market Report” finds that offshore wind projects continue to trend farther from shore and into increasingly deeper waters. Continuing to increase in size, the average offshore wind turbine installed in 2014 had a 377-ft-diameter rotor on a 279-ft-tall tower. The average capacity of offshore wind turbines installed in 2014 was 3.4 MW (compared with 1.9 MW for land-based turbines). Last year also marked the first deployment of an 8-MW prototype, and a number of turbines rated between 6 MW and 8 MW have been ordered for pending projects. By siting projects farther from shore where they can access stronger, more consistent winds, combined with technology improvements and larger turbines, developers have increased their turbines’ capacity factors, meaning each wind turbine can generate more energy.
The study predicts that this year will be a record year for global offshore wind deployments, with 3,996 MW of capacity on track to begin operations. In the first half of 2015, the industry commissioned 1,190 MW of this capacity, bringing the total current installed capacity to 8,990 MW worldwide.
For more information, visit www.energy.gov.