Impacts of Siting Considerations on Offshore Wind Technical Potential in the United States

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


We estimated the technical potential for the offshore wind (OSW) resource in the United States under two siting regimes to characterize the uncertainty pertaining to the local drivers of siting within a national context. We established Open Access and Limited Access regimes to represent upper and lower bounds on OSW deployment, respectively. These included spatial constraints such as technology depth limits, military use areas, protected areas, existing infrastructure, shipping lanes and more. The same spatial considerations are also considered in the Limited Access regime, but with additional buffers to existing infrastructure as well as a reduced capacity density assumption. Capacity density is the concentration of wind energy development for a given area specified in terms of megawatts (MW) per square kilometer (km 2). In the Open-Access regime we used a 5 MW/km 2 assumption, while in the Limited Access scenario we assumed 3 MW/km2. This difference reflects our intention for the Open-Access scenario to serve as an upper bound for OSW technical potential, with the Limited-Access scenario as a lower bound. We also applied three technology advancement scenarios to each of the siting regimes. The three technology scenarios (Conservative, Moderate, and Advanced) represent plausible improvements in turbine technology including increased rated power and higher hub heights.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages44
StatePublished - 2023

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-6A20-85088


  • offshore wind
  • siting
  • technical potential


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