Eleven offshore wind projects representing 3,824 MW of capacity are currently in an advanced stage of development in the U.S., according to a new report released by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). These projects, the DOE explains, have at least signed a power purchase agreement, received approval for an interim or commercial lease in state or federal waters, or conducted baseline or geophysical studies at the proposed site.
And that's just one key finding from this year's U.S. Offshore Wind Market and Economic Analysis, which was authored by the Navigant Consortium for the DOE. Additionally, the report notes global trends in the offshore wind space.
The new study builds on an analysis from last year, and the DOE says it plans to update and publish one annually for a three-year period, providing stakeholders with a reliable and consistent data source. Over time, the DOE adds, the report could help create a road map for accelerating development and increasing U.S. competitiveness in the offshore wind market.
According to the DOE, other highlights of the 2013 report include the following:
– The average turbine size for advanced-stage, planned projects in the U.S. is expected to range between 4 MW and 5 MW, which is larger than turbines being used in land-based applications.
– The main challenges faced by U.S. offshore wind developers are cost-competitiveness, a lack of infrastructure such as offshore transmission and purpose-built ports and vessels, and uncertain and lengthy regulatory processes.
– Transmission infrastructure projects that saw progress in 2013 included the Atlantic Wind Connection and the New Jersey Energy Link.
– Globally, offshore wind development continues to move farther from shore into increasingly deeper waters; parallel increases in turbine sizes and hub heights are contributing to higher efficiencies (capacity factors).
– Developers continue to test a variety of platform and foundation types as the industry seeks to address deeper waters, varying seabed conditions, increasing turbine sizes and the increased severity of wind and wave loading at offshore wind projects.
The full report is available HERE.