- Offshore wind developers say the U.S. has a fantastic opportunity to grow offshore wind power, but will need to get the industry moving within the next decade or else be surpassed by newer resources, SNL Energy reports.
- While Europe has more than 10,000 MW of offshore wind capacity already running, the United States is behind the trend with zero MW online, 15,650 MW in development, and more than 3,300 predicted to be online in the next five years.
- Over the summer, Deepwater Wind installed the first foundation for what is expected to be the first offshore wind farm to come online in the United States: a 30 MW project southeast of Block Island, Rhode Island.
Offshore wind developers looking at the U.S. offshore wind potential said the market has lagged behind its European counterparts.
But at least one wind developer said the U.S. can still play catch-up as long as the industry moves quickly.
"This industry in this country needs to get somewhere within the next 10 years and get the price down as low as reasonable, or we will find ourselves much like the nuclear industry in that we went so far and that was the end of the game because we couldn't play it," Lake Erie Energy Development President Lorry Wagner told SNL Energy.
According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the United States has 4,200 GW of developable offshore wind potential, compared to its estimate of 11,000 GW of onshore wind potential.
2015 is expected to be the year offshore wind begins taking off in the United States. For example, two wind developers recently proposed competing 400 MW offshore wind projects in Hawaii, and a newly-opened swath of offshore wind tracts off the New Jersey coast could yield some 3,400 MW of wind capacity.
But there is not yet an offshore wind project to come online in the U.S. Deepwater Wind's 30 MW Block Island Wind Farm is expected to be the first when it is completed next year, with the company already planning two larger offshore projects along the Atlantic Coast.
Globally, there are about 7 GW of offshore wind installed with the bulk of that in Europe and another 6.6 GW under construction.