Powering Strong Communities

U.S. Offshore Wind Is Growing, With Nearly 51,400 Megawatts in Development: Report

The U.S. has a pipeline of offshore wind projects totaling nearly 51,400 megawatts, according to a report by the American Clean Power Association.

The Offshore Wind Market Report noted that there are 32 leases in active development and within those leases there are 18 projects in early development and 18 projects in advanced development. Early development projects make up the majority of the pipeline, representing 33,875 megawatts, the report said. There are also 16,564 megawatts of offshore wind projects in advanced development, and 938 megawatts under construction.

In total, there are 51,377 megawatts of offshore wind in the development pipeline in the United States, of which 84 percent, or 43,115 megawatts are on the East Coast with the remaining 8,262 megawatts spread across five leases on the West Coast.

New York State, with 4,362 megawatts, has the most offshore wind capacity in the development pipeline, followed by New Jersey with 3,758 megawatts, the report said.

Public power utilities in New York State are pursuing offshore wind energy. In January 2017, the Long Island Power Authority’s Board of Trustees approved a power purchase agreement to buy energy from New York’s first offshore wind farm. 

Offshore wind project development, construction and operations are expected to support up to 83,000 American jobs by 2030, with industry investment set to deliver up to $25 billion per year in economic output, the report found.

The report also found that offshore wind development has domestic shipbuilding, with more than 30 new vessels on order or under construction to support the industry. There are also 14 facilities announced or under construction and investment announcements for major offshore wind components exceeding $1.7 billion.

Nevertheless, despite the growth of offshore wind development, project costs are rising because of supply chain disruptions, commodity price increases, macroeconomic inflationary pressures, and higher interest rates, the report’s authors said, noting that rising steel prices pose a particular challenge for offshore wind developers, as steel represents a significant portion of project material costs.

In addition, lengthy and unclear permitting and regulatory timelines pose further challenges for offshore wind developers, the report said.