A lot of the nation’s most robust wind energy resources are located on the West Coast, over waters hundreds to thousands of feet deep, requiring floating turbine foundations and substations to meet engineering challenges. However, interconnecting large wind farms to coastal substations and transmission infrastructure may pose technical, economic, and policy challenges that need to be considered alongside the development of new electricity generation assets.

To help address these challenges, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Wind Energy Technologies Office has published the West Coast Offshore Wind Transmission Literature Review and Gaps Analysis.

Led by wind energy experts from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, the report reviews 13 existing studies that evaluate offshore wind energy transmission through potential points of interconnection along the coastlines of California, Oregon, and Washington. The analysis also considers existing and emerging state policies and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management wind site lease activities, like the buoy study off the coast of California. The report is informed by ongoing Pacific Northwest National Laboratory analysis of southern Oregon and northern California offshore wind power transmission.

This analysis—a companion study to one for the Atlantic Coast—identifies gaps and observations the wind industry must address to fully and successfully develop offshore wind energy off the nation’s West Coast and bring it onshore to American households and businesses.