The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), in partnership with the U.S. Department of the Interior’s (DOI) Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), is working to support the Administration's interagency goal of 30 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind (OSW) by 2030, as well as future deployment to ramp up to 110+ GW in 2050 and beyond. The development of strategic and equitable OSW transmission will allow wind resources to be captured off the coasts of the United States and delivered to communities as clean, reliable power. To achieve these goals, proactive transmission planning and development will be needed.
In January 2022, DOE announced the Building a Better Grid Initiative to expand and strengthen the electric transmission grid across the nation. In support of that mission, DOE and BOEM convened decisionmakers and stakeholders for a series of OSW transmission convening workshops, in consultation with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). This convening workshop series sought to identify options for addressing technology and standardization requirements; aligning requirements across regulatory jurisdictions; optimizing siting and permitting approaches that affect OSW transmission development; ensuring appropriate protections; and addressing ocean co-use conflicts through avoidance, minimization, and mitigation strategies.
Decisionmakers and senior leadership from federal agencies, Tribal Nations, state public utility commissions, state energy offices, state environmental and natural resource agencies, ISO/RTOs, electric reliability organizations, consumer advocates, and current BOEM leaseholders in the Atlantic region have been engaged to provide insight on collaborative solutions for near-, medium-, and long-term OSW transmission challenges. A public stakeholder convening workshop was also held to solicit broader public input. This first convening workshop series was focused on the Atlantic Coast from Maine to South Carolina.
The Wind Energy Technologies Office at DOE is leading a two-year Atlantic Offshore Wind Transmission Study (AOSWTS). Conducted by NREL and PNNL, the AOSWTS will evaluate multiple pathways to OSW goals through coordinated transmission solutions along the Atlantic Coast in the near-term (2030) and long-term (2050), under various generation mix and load futures. Resulting topologies and datasets will illuminate benefits and shortcomings in terms of production costs, system reliability, and resilience of specific transmission infrastructure concepts. These contributions will fill research gaps, support timely and informed recommendations on OSW transmission strategies for the convening workshops, and offer feasible solutions that may benefit stakeholders in their planning processes.
The outputs of the convening workshops and the AOSWTS will ultimately inform DOE and BOEM’s development of a set of OSW transmission-focused recommendations and associated time-bound, regionally-specific action plans for enabling solutions, starting with the Atlantic Coast. The DOE and BOEM recommendations will address the areas of transmission planning and development; economics and policy; and siting and permitting.
DOE received $100M in funding through the Inflation Reduction Act for offshore wind and interregional transmission analyses and convenings, which will allow the agency to expand efforts to new regions in the future.
For additional information on GDO’s funding and financing programs made available through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act, see the Grid and Transmission Program Conductor.