Ernest Moniz, the Secretary of Energy, and Sally Jewell, Secretary of the Interior, have announced the publication of a collaborative strategic plan aimed at accelerating the development of offshore wind energy in the United States.
Moniz and Jewell said the new National Offshore Wind Strategy could help enable the development of 86 GW of offshore wind by 2050.
The Department of the Interior has already awarded 11 commercial leases for offshore wind development that could support up to 14.6 GW of capacity.
Government officials chose the completion of the first U.S. offshore wind project to announce a strategic plan aimed at encouraging more offshore development.
Last month Deepwater Wind completed construction of its 30-MW Block Island wind project in Rhode Island.
The company is trying to build on that success with a proposed 90 MW wind farm off the southeast end of Long Island that is designed to be the first phase of the company’s much larger Deepwater One project. That plan envisions as much as 1,000 MW of offshore wind power in the waters between Montauk, N.Y., and Martha’s Vineyard, Mass.
Despite successes in Europe and potential along the U.S. coasts, offshore wind power has been slow to get off the ground in the United States. A joint Department of Energy-Department of the Interior plan aims to address that situation.
The plan targets three key challenges: reducing technical costs and risks, supporting effective stewardship, and improving market conditions for investment in offshore wind project.
The plan calls for the DOE to work toward reducing the leveled cost of offshore wind technology, while the DOI will work toward enhancing its “regulatory program to ensure that oversight processes are well-informed and adaptable” and avoid unnecessary burdens.
The plan says that recent “trends suggest that offshore wind has the opportunity to play a substantial role as a source of domestic, large-scale, affordable electricity for the nation.”