By Megan Cleveland
U.S. waters contain an estimated 2 terawatts of potential offshore wind capacity.
This amount is equivalent to approximately twice the capacity of current U.S. electricity generation and is enough energy to power roughly 1.6 billion homes. With additional transmission infrastructure, offshore wind could provide power for high-density coastal and Great Lakes states, which account for nearly 80 percent of U.S. electricity demand.
The U.S. offshore wind market is nascent yet growing. The first commercial U.S. installation began operation in December 2016. Located off Rhode Island, the 30-megawatt (MW) Block Island Wind Farm produces enough electricity to power 17,000 homes.
As offshore wind costs have fallen significantly in recent years, more states are looking to harness the clean energy and economic development opportunities presented by the market.
NCSL will host a webinar, “The Growing Offshore Wind Market,” at 3 p.m. ET on Thursday, Feb. 21. This webinar will discuss state action around offshore wind and explore state policies, incentives and financing structures to encourage and support the development of the U.S. offshore wind industry.
Speakers for this webinar are Nancy Sopko, director of offshore policy and siting at the American Wind Energy Association, and Nils Bolgen, offshore wind program director at the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center.
Megan Cleveland is a policy associate in NCSL's Energy, Environment and Transportation Program.