The U.S. Department of Energy’s Wind Energy Technologies Office is launching a study of transmission options to support offshore wind development on the U.S. East Coast through 2050. The study will facilitate meeting the interagency goal to deploy 30 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind by 2030, which would support 77,000 jobs, catalyze $12 billion per year in capital investments, revitalize ports, and unlock a pathway to 110 GW offshore wind by 2050.

Given current trends in offshore wind development, available technology, and state-level procurement goals, the first wave of U.S. offshore wind projects will be developed along the East Coast in the Atlantic Ocean. The study will evaluate multiple pathways to offshore wind goals through coordinated transmission solutions along the Atlantic in the near-term (2030) and long-term (2050), under various combinations of electricity supply and demand, while supporting grid reliability and resilience and ocean co-use.

This study will build on DOE’s recently published Atlantic Offshore Wind Transmission Literature Review and Gaps Analysis, which summarizes current publicly available transmission analyses along the Atlantic Coast. It will also address some of the gaps that were identified, including better alignment of offshore wind transmission studies with national goals, coordination between offshore wind generation and transmission, feasibility studies that account for technology limitations, impacts associated with cable routes and landing points, and consideration of reliability and resilience events (e.g., hurricanes). The Atlantic Offshore Wind Transmission Study will also compare options including high-voltage alternating current versus high-voltage direct current, as well as the current approach of each project connecting to shore individually (also known as radial or generator lead line) versus coordinated shared transmission infrastructure (also known as an offshore transmission backbone or network).

The two-year study will be led by DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Its scope was developed in consultation with the U.S. Department of the Interior and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

For more information on DOE’s work to support a reliable, resilient electric grid with increasing amounts of wind energy, see the Renewable Systems Integration R&D web page.