Growing Together: On the Development of the US Offshore Wind Industry

Dredging and Port Construction

The US has finally made a commitment to offshore wind (OSW) development as a pipeline of OSW farms is beginning to appear off the Atlantic Coast. So far, the Department of the Interior has auctioned off 16 leases in designated Wind Energy Areas (WEAs) to the highest bidder(s) and plans are being put in place to bring the wind farms located in the WEAs to fruition.

The leases are located on the outer continental shelf (OCS) of the US adjacent to the Atlantic Coast. The winds blow strongly on the OCS and the waters are shallow, making the positioning of fixed platforms feasible even out to 40–48km from the shore. There is also growing interest in OSW along the west coast adjacent to California where waters are deeper and floating platforms are the likely solution. Experienced European developers, such as Ørsted, Equinor, Avangrid, Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners, Shell, and EDP Renewables, have successfully purchased these leases or partnered with local developers to construct and operate the projected wind farms. This extensive European experience has enabled the cost of OSW to be reduced and become more competitive in the US with natural gas, which the US has in abundance.

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“Growing Together: On the Development of the US Offshore Wind Industry,” by Joan M. Bondareff was published in the June 2019 edition of Dredging and Port Construction. Reprinted with permission.