Terminology Guideline for Classifying Offshore Wind Energy Resources

Philipp Beiter, Walter Musial

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


The purpose of this guideline is to establish a clear and consistent vocabulary for conveying offshore wind resource potential and to interpret this vocabulary in terms that are familiar to the oil and gas (O&G) industry. This involves clarifying and refining existing definitions of offshore wind energy resource classes. The terminology developed in this guideline represents one of several possible sets of vocabulary that may differ with respect to their purpose, data availability, and comprehensiveness. It was customized to correspond with established offshore wind practices and existing renewable energy industry terminology (e.g. DOE 2013, Brown et al. 2015) while conforming to established fossil resource classification as best as possible. The developers of the guideline recognize the fundamental differences that exist between fossil and renewable energy resources with respect to availability, accessibility, lifetime, and quality. Any quantitative comparison between fossil and renewable energy resources, including offshore wind, is therefore limited. For instance, O&G resources are finite and there may be significant uncertainty associated with the amount of the resource. In contrast, aboveground renewable resources, such as offshore wind, do not generally deplete over time but can vary significantly subhourly, daily, seasonally, and annually. The intent of this guideline is to make these differences transparent and develop an offshore wind resource classification that conforms to established fossil resource classifications where possible. This guideline also provides methods to quantitatively compare certain offshore wind energy resources to O&G resource classes for specific applications. Finally, this guideline identifies areas where analogies to established O&G terminology may be inappropriate or subject to misinterpretation.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages24
StatePublished - 2016

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-6A20-65431


  • definitions
  • NREL
  • offshore wind terminology
  • wind resource classes
  • wind resource potential


Dive into the research topics of 'Terminology Guideline for Classifying Offshore Wind Energy Resources'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this