Capacity Density Considerations for Offshore Wind Plants in the United States

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


The United States is a rapidly emerging market for offshore wind energy, with a project pipeline estimated at over 52 GW as of May 31, 2023 (Musial et al. 2023). The capacity density, measured in megawatts per square kilometer (MW/km2), is a crucial parameter for estimating the magnitude of the development pipeline and the nameplate potential of existing lease areas. The offshore wind energy industry is comprised of diversity of participants, including developers, governmental bodies, investors, environmental advocacy groups, and researchers. These various stakeholders use capacity density in different ways as a key metric for evaluating the potential of individual offshore wind lease area or even a section of ocean space. This report presents our assessment of capacity density values in the current pipeline of emerging U.S. offshore wind farms and a detailed list of the main factors that influence capacity density. This understanding is critical for planning of future lease areas, for estimating the technical resource potential for offshore wind on the U.S. outer continental shelf (OCS), and for estimating ocean space requirements needed for meeting state and national goals for a carbon neutral energy transition.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages38
StatePublished - 2023

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-5000-86933


  • capacity density
  • lease areas
  • pipeline
  • U.S. offshore wind capacity density
  • U.S. offshore wind projects


Dive into the research topics of 'Capacity Density Considerations for Offshore Wind Plants in the United States'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this