The program supports market acceleration projects intended to mitigate market barriers to the development of the U.S. offshore wind market. These projects address both environmental and supply chain-related issues, and are broken down into seven categories:
- Wind resource characterization and design conditions
- Environmental surveys, monitoring tools, and resources
- Electromagnetic interference research
- Transmission planning and interconnection studies
- Evaluating vessels and ports
- Manufacturing and supply chain development
- Optimizing infrastructure and operations.
Read a report on the program's portfolio of offshore wind technology research, development, and demonstration projects.
Offshore Wind Energy Resources and the Environment
Establishing environmental parameters is an important piece of the offshore wind research agenda. This includes characterizing offshore wind resources, understanding the environmental impacts of offshore wind construction on wildlife and the marine environment, and mitigating the impact of offshore wind turbines on radar and other communication and navigation equipment. The links below will take you to resources and projects developed by the Wind Program and its partners in order to address these topics.
Wind Resource Characterization and Design Conditions
- AWS Truepower has developed a Web-based, national inventory called the U.S. Met-Ocean Data Center for Offshore Renewable Energy (USMODCORE). Over the course of the project, AWS Truepower established data needs for wind energy resources and design conditions, identified existing sources of relevant data, and carried out a gaps analysis to establish long-term requirements for new data to be gathered and disseminated through national public-private collaboration initiatives.
- Indiana University is integrating wind data from remote sensing, aerial and satellite measurements, and meteorological towers to produce a high resolution wind characterization for Lake Erie. This project is also analyzing instruments and developing best practices for each measurement type.
- Savannah River National Laboratories are examining what conditions produce breaking waves and how breaking waves can impact offshore wind turbine structures in the south eastern region of the United States.
- Pacific Northwest National Laboratory procured two WindSentinel wind resource assessment buoys from Axys Technologies, Inc. that use lidar to accurately measure wind speed, wind direction, and turbulence offshore up to blade-tip heights of 200 meters (m). One is located off the coast of Virginia Beach, Virginia and the other is off the coast of Atlantic City, New Jersey. The buoys provide long-term offshore wind profile data that will support research needed to accelerate the utilization of offshore wind energy in the United States.
Environmental Surveys, Monitoring Tools, and Resources
- In order to promote the collaborative development of complementary models and compatible databases for offshore wildlife surveys, the Wind Program hosted a workshop focused on efforts to establish and predict marine mammal, seabird, and sea turtle abundance, density, and distributions extending from the shoreline to the edge of the Exclusive Economic Zone between Nantucket Sound, Massachusetts and Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. The Mid-Atlantic Marine Wildlife Workshop report and related appendices provide detailed information on the meeting sessions.
- As part of an international collaboration with the International Energy Agency, the Energy Department and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory developed Tethys, a database that catalogs results of environmental monitoring and research efforts on ocean energy development worldwide, including offshore wind. The database will help industry regulators and energy project developers deploy sustainable ocean energy projects in an environmentally responsible manner.
- Building on a pilot study of acoustic bat and marine radar surveys funded by the Department of the Interior, the Energy Department has provided Stantec with additional funding to expand their study of the migratory patterns of birds and bats to include proposed locations of offshore wind farms. These data will inform future siting, permitting, mitigation, and operational decisions for offshore wind development.
- The Biodiversity Research Institute studied the wildlife (bird, sea turtle, and marine mammal) distributions, densities, and movements on the mid-Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf between 2012 and 2014. Using a combination of boat and high resolution digital video aerial surveys, the Mid-Atlantic Baseline Studies provide regulators, developers, and other stakeholders for offshore wind energy with information that can be used to identify important wildlife areas, data gaps, and approaches for collecting and incorporating natural resource data into decision-making.
Electromagnetic Interference Research
A team led by researchers from the University of Texas conducted a baseline evaluation of electromagnetic and acoustical challenges to sea surface, subsurface, and airborne electronic systems presented by offshore wind farms.
Planning, Constructing, and Integrating Offshore Wind Energy
The Wind Program is also working to enable the nascent U.S. offshore wind industry by funding projects aimed at the development of planning, construction, and integration practices, which will ensure offshore wind energy is deployed in a cost-effective manner with minimal risk to the electrical grid. By developing a better understanding of offshore wind supply chains, available U.S. ports and vessels, and requirements for connecting offshore wind energy to existing grid infrastructure, the program can assist industry in the responsible planning and deployment of this abundant energy source.
Transmission Planning and Interconnection Studies
- ABB assessed the likely impacts of offshore wind development in the various regions of the United States from the electric utility perspective. This work included developing energy production profiles, performing an initial integration analysis, and evaluating the applicability of traditional integration study methods and potential energy collection and delivery technologies. ABB's final report suggest that the United States has sufficient offshore wind energy resources to enable the installation of at least 54 GW of offshore wind capacity—enough to power nearly 17 million homes—and that the appropriate transmission technologies already exist to connect this offshore wind energy to the grid.
- The University of Delaware is examining potential effects of wind penetration on the Mid-Atlantic electric grid and facilitating grid operations planning by identifying necessary system upgrades and grid management strategies to ensure reliable and efficient operation of the electric system.
- Case Western University is evaluating potential impacts of offshore wind on the electric grid in the Great Lakes region and determining requirements for interconnection, control systems, and the application of additional support for different transmission systems.
- Duke Energy Business Services examined the potential system impacts of offshore wind development on the Duke Energy Carolinas system, determined the costs of upgrading the transmission system to support large-scale offshore projects, and assessed strategies for system integration and management. The first phase of the study found that new high-voltage transmission infrastructure is needed to reliably integrate offshore wind resources.
Evaluating Vessels and Ports
- Douglas-Westwood investigated the anticipated demand for various vessel types associated with offshore wind development under multiple growth scenarios, projecting installed capacity and vessel requirements out to 2030. The final report assesses vessel needs under each scenario and the United States' ability to meet those needs.
- GL Garrad Hassan America carried out a review of the current capability of U.S. ports to support offshore wind project development and assessed the challenges and opportunities related to upgrading this capability to meet various offshore wind industry growth scenarios in the United States. The final port assessment report includes case studies of six ports from different geographic regions and varied levels of interest and preparedness toward offshore wind, which yielded a set of best practices for U.S. ports looking to support the offshore wind market. GL Garrad Hassan has also created a publicly available port evaluation tool which allows the user to identify ports that are well-suited to specific project needs. Port operators can also use this tool to identify areas in which additional investments are required at their facility to support offshore wind installation and maintenance.
Manufacturing and Supply Chain Development
- The National Renewable Energy Laboratory authored the 2014–2015 Offshore Wind Technologies Market Report, which assesses global offshore wind trends through June 30, 2015 and provides details on U.S. offshore wind projects. The report summarizes domestic and global market developments, technology trends, and economic data to help U.S. offshore wind industry stakeholders, including policymakers, regulators, developers, financiers, and supply chain participants, to identify barriers and opportunities. This report builds on the foundation laid by the Navigant Consortium, which produced three market reports between 2012 and 2014.
- The Global Wind Network (GLWN) assessed the key factors that determine wind energy component manufacturing costs and pricing on a global basis in order to provide a better understanding of the factors that will help enhance the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturers, and reduce installed system costs. Building on their existing database of wind energy supplier capabilities, GLWN interviewed major companies involved in the offshore global production of wind energy and collaborated with established wind industry partners, associates, and National Institutes of Standards and Technology Manufacturing Extension Partnerships in the coastal states. Key findings from the report indicate that globally, the United States has the most efficient manufacturing process for towers, blades, and generators, and that U.S. manufacturers have the capability to supply key components of next-generation 3-megawatt wind turbines.
- Navigant surveyed uncertainties around the United States' offshore wind manufacturing and supply chain capabilities. The final report projects potential component-level supply chain needs under three demand scenarios, and identifies key supply chain challenges and opportunities facing both the future U.S. offshore wind market and current suppliers of the nation's land-based wind market.
- The Clean Energy States Alliance (CESA), in conjunction with Douglas-Westwood and the U.S. Offshore Wind Collaborative, analyzed offshore wind supply chain development opportunities in 24 coastal states. The state profiles produced by the CESA-led team provide detailed information on policies, tax credits, and other incentives for offshore wind businesses.
Optimizing Infrastructure and Operations
- GL Garrad Hassan America has identified and quantifyied key areas of offshore wind project installation and operations where opportunities exist to reduce the cost of energy produced by offshore wind plants. The project developed both a report and a publicly-available Excel-based Installation and O&M Levelized Cost of Energy (LCoE) Analysis Tool that enables project developers, owners, and managers to evaluate and compare how various installation and maintenance strategies and technical approaches impact cost of energy.
- DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) conducted an assessment of optimized installation, operation, and maintenance strategies and technologies for offshore wind projects in U.S. waters to evaluate their relative costs and benefits. The report combines NREL's offshore wind cost modeling capabilities and those of the Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands, along with the operating experience of an expert industry panel.