Offshore wind (OSW) is becoming a promising source of reliable and clean energy around the world. The US has just begun to tap the vast resource potential along its coasts with a total capacity of 42 MW installed off Rhode Island and Virginia as of 2022, and a planned project pipeline of 40 GW. In addition to the federal OSW target of 30 GW by 2030 (110 GW and more by 2050) and 15 GW of floating OSW by 2035, individual US states’ policies aim to procure at least 39 GW by 2040. With over 4,200 GW of technical resource potential, OSW has a potential to meet US electricity demands by more than three times. The US Department of Energy (DOE) is playing a crucial role in helping the country meet the OSW energy target.
On March 29, 2023, DOE released ‘Advancing Offshore Wind Energy in the United States, U.S. Department of Energy Strategic Contributions Toward 30 Gigawatts and Beyond’ strategy, which is a comprehensive summary of its role to meet the country’s OSW target. The strategy has divided the OSW efforts by the DOE into four pillars – Near-Term Offshore Wind (NOW), Floating Offshore Wind Accelerated Research and Development (FORWARD), CONNECT and TRANSFORM.
Under NOW, the focus is on reducing the cost of fixed-bottom OSW to USD51/MWh by 2030 and to support the development of a robust domestic OSW supply chain to install and operate more than 30 GW of fixed-bottom OSW.
Under FORWARD, the emphasis is on achieving the goal of the Floating Offshore Wind Shot initiative of reducing the cost of floating OSW in deep waters far from shore to USD45/MWh by 2035 and support the development of a domestic supply chain to facilitate deployment of 15 GW of floating OSW by 2035.
The CONNECT pillar focuses on coordination and planning for a transmission system that integrates OSW with the US electricity grid and supports technology innovation as well as expansion of reliable and resilient grid infrastructure.
The fourth pillar TRANSFORM emphasises on promoting storage and wind-to-fuel technologies from offshore wind energy.
The strategy also identifies the many opportunities for DOE action and includes the many offices that might engage in the focus areas of this strategy.
The strategy can be accessed here.