Submarine Cable Analysis for U.S. Marine Renewable Energy Development

Levi Kilcher, Ben Best

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


This report by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) was funded by the U.S. Department of Energy to evaluate potential overlap between U.S. marine renewable energy resources and existing footprints and spatial needs of the U.S. submarine telecommunications cable industry. Submarine cables are vital to the telecommunications industry, and marine renewable energy - including offshore wind, tidal, and wave energy - has the potential to diversify the U.S. renewable energy portfolio, create jobs, and power the emerging blue economy. Marine renewable energy can complement other renewables by offering consistent, reliable energy in high demand times (e.g., during morning and evening hours), and by siting in proximity to coastal areas with high population density. The first U.S. commercial marine renewable energy facility - the Block Island Wind Farm (Rhode Island) - went into production in December 2016. As implementation and other costs for these technologies continue to drop and increasingly ambitious targets for renewable energy are adopted, marine renewable energy planning and development will need to effectively evaluate the presence of co-occurring ocean uses and resources, like submarine cables.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages57
StatePublished - 2019

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-5000-71125


  • blue economy
  • cable setback
  • marine energy
  • renewable energy
  • submarine cable


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