The Impacts of Developing a Port Network for Floating Offshore Wind Energy on the West Coast of the United States

Matt Shields, Aubryn Cooperman, Matilda Kreider, Frank Oteri, Zoe Hemez, Liz Gill, Ashesh Sharma, Kyle Fan, Walt Musial, Matt Trowbridge, Ashley Knipe, Jennifer Lim

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


Floating offshore wind is a pre-commercial industry with the potential for significant market growth on the U.S. West Coast in the near future; however, significant investment in port infrastructure will be required to enable the industry to progress from demonstration projects to efficient and cost effective commercial deployment. Developing a system of ports that can enable commercial-scale floating wind development on the West Coast of the United States will require significant levels of funding and coordination between governments, industry, ports, and local communities. A critical first step to strategically planning these resources is understanding the number of ports (and associated investment) that would be required to support different phases of offshore wind projects, including manufacturing, installation, and operation. But simply tallying up these costs is not sufficient to understand how a robust network of ports could impact local communities, the environment, workforce development, the offshore wind industry, and the West Coast region as a whole. In this report, the authors present analyses and perspectives related to port development in California, Oregon, and Washington. We describe the requirements for floating offshore wind ports that conduct manufacturing, installation, and/or service activities, and estimate the investment and time frames required to construct these ports at suitable locations in West Coast states. We develop indicators for the vulnerability and workforce accessibility of coastal communities and consider the potential risks and benefits associated with port development in these locations. We model how the proximity of an offshore wind project to installation and operations ports can impact the levelized cost of energy of the project, and then consider how these costs could be affected by local or foreign supply chains. We build upon these analyses to develop scenarios with increasing levels of offshore wind deployment and port assets on the West Coast and show how these ports could enable deployment goals to be achieved. Finally, we draw upon outreach with key floating wind stakeholders to summarize five key challenges that will need to be overcome to develop a comprehensive port network, and present potential approaches that could help to address these obstacles.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages169
StatePublished - 2023

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-5000-86864


  • energy justice
  • floating offshore wind
  • levelized cost of energy
  • port infrastructure
  • supply chain


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