Estimating the Economic Potential of Offshore Wind in the United States

Philipp Beiter, Walter Musial, Aaron Smith, Eric Lantz, Levi Kilcher, Senu Sirnivas, Tyler Stehly, Vahan Gevorgian, Meghan Mooney, George Scott, Rick Damiani, Michael Maness

Research output: NRELPoster


The potential for cost reduction and market deployment for offshore wind varies considerably within the United States. This analysis estimates the future economic viability of offshore wind at more than 7,000 sites under a variety of electric sector and cost reduction scenarios. Identifying the economic potential of offshore wind at a high geospatial resolution can capture the significant variation in local offshore resource quality, costs, and revenue potential. In estimating economic potential, this article applies a method initially developed in Brown et al. (2015) to offshore wind and estimates the sensitivity of results under a variety of most likely electric sector scenarios. For the purposes of this analysis, a theoretical framework is developed introducing a novel offshore resource classification system that is analogous to established resource classifications from the oil and gas sector. Analyzing economic potential within this framework can help establish a refined understanding across industries of the technology and site-specific risks and opportunities associated with future offshore wind development. The results of this analysis are intended to inform the development of the U.S. Department of Energy's offshore wind strategy.
Original languageAmerican English
StatePublished - 2016

Publication series

NamePresented at the American Wind Energy Association's (AWEA) WINDPOWER 2016 Conference & Exhibition, 23-26 May 2016, New Orleans, Louisiana

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/PO-6A20-66288


  • analysis
  • economic potential
  • findings
  • framework
  • NREL
  • offshore wind
  • strategy


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