US Offshore Wind Study

The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNA) has just released a study on offshore wind along the east coast of the United States. The study, commissioned by the Department of Energy (DOE) evaluated the market value of wind, based on energy, capacity and renewable energy certificate value.

The study concluded that wind speeds and wind consistency vary significantly along the east coast of the United States. The study confirmed that winds offshore usually exceed winds onshore, along the eastern seaboard. Winds speeds and consistently are critical in power generation. A wind turbine can generate 50% more power when wind speeds are 16 miles per hour, then wind speeds at 14 miles per hour.

Private and public-sector organizations have published substantial analysis and reports on the cost and economic value of offshore wind along the east coast of the United States. The LBNA study complimented previous studies by recognized experts in wind energy. However, the offshore wind experts were steadfast in their belief that significant cost reductions can be achieved by future offshore wind projects. Statoil, a major Norwegian energy company has forecast that electricity can be generated at less than three cents per kWh within the next few years.

Eighty-one offshore wind farms operate in Germany, United Kingdom, Denmark, People’s Republic of China, Sweden and Japan. The United States has only one 30 MW wind farm operating off the coast of Rhode Island. However, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Delaware and Maryland are aggressively pursuing the development of offshore wind projects.  Offshore wind is recognized as a preferred energy source to fossil fuel (coal, oil and natural gas) and nuclear energy.

The LBNA recognizes that the eastern seaboard has excellent offshore wind potential. However, the strongest and most consistent wind in the United States are off the coast of northern California and Oregon. Governor Kate Brown, please explain why Oregon isn’t pursuing offshore wind energy.

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