Future for Offshore Wind Energy in the United States: Preprint

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Until recently, the offshore wind energy potential in the United States was ignored because vast onshore wind resources have the potential to fulfill the electrical energy needs for the entire country. However, the challenge of transmitting the electricity to the large load centers may limit wind grid penetration for land-based turbines. Offshore wind turbines can generate power much closer tohigher value coastal load centers. Reduced transmission constraints, steadier and more energetic winds, and recent European success, have made offshore wind energy more attractive for the United States. However, U.S. waters are generally deeper than those on the European coast, and will require new technology. This paper presents an overview of U.S. coastal resources, explores promisingdeepwater wind technology, and predicts long-term cost-of-energy (COE) trends. COE estimates are based on generic 5-MW wind turbines in a hypothetical 500-MW wind power plant. Technology improvements and volume production are expected to lower costs to meet the U.S. Department of Energy target range of $0.06/kWh for deployment of deepwater offshore wind turbines by 2015, and $0.05/kWh by 2012for shallow water. Offshore wind systems can diversify the U.S. electric energy supply and provide a new market for wind energy that is complementary to onshore development.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages16
StatePublished - 2004
EventEnergyOcean 2004 - Palm Beach, Florida
Duration: 28 Jun 200429 Jun 2004


ConferenceEnergyOcean 2004
CityPalm Beach, Florida

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-500-36313


  • offshore wind
  • wind energy
  • wind turbines


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