Offshore Wind An American Opportunity

Guest Blog | October 5, 2010 | Energy Policy, Wind
utgrundenOffshore wind energy has been getting a lot of attention lately – and rightfully so. With more than 4,000 gigawatts of capacity potential in all U.S. waters, offshore wind represents a huge opportunity to generate clean energy and green jobs.

Over the next three days, I’ll be blogging from Atlantic City, New Jersey at the American Wind Energy Association’s first Offshore Wind Power Conference. But first, a primer on offshore wind energy.

Offshore wind farms have been operational in Europe for nearly 20 years. That continent currently has more than 2 gigawatts of offshore wind farms installed (about the size of two or three large nuclear or coal-fired power plants). More than 19,000 people are employed in the offshore wind industry in Europe. By 2030, it is expected that some 150 gigawatts of offshore wind farm capacity will be built in Europe, which would supply nearly 13% of that continent’s electricity and the industry would create nearly 300,000 jobs.

Meanwhile, the offshore wind industry here in the United States is just getting started. U.S. companies General Electric, ClipperWind and American Semiconductor all have designed offshore wind turbines. The Cape Wind project off Massachusetts recently won approval from the Department of the Interior. Clemson University is working on advanced turbine technologies in South Carolina. Louisiana will soon have an offshore wind turbine blade manufacturing factory in New Orleans.


All these activities will be brought up at the conference this week, but at the top of everyone’s list will be the Department of Energy’s brand new Offshore Wind Innovation and Development Initiative (OSWIND for short). Over the next couple days stay tuned in to read more about this new program and other exciting bits about the newest American opportunity.

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