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DOE Releases Comprehensive Report on Offshore Wind Power in the United States

October 7, 2010

U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced today the release of a report from the Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), which comprehensively analyzes the key factors impacting the deployment of offshore wind power in the United States. The report, "Large-Scale Offshore Wind Power in the United States: Assessment of Opportunities and Barriers," includes a detailed assessment of the nation's offshore wind resources and offshore wind industry, including future job growth potential. The report also analyzes the technology challenges, economics, permitting procedures, and the potential risks and benefits of offshore wind power deployment in U.S. waters.

"Clean, renewable energy development that capitalizes on the nation's vast offshore wind and water resources holds great promise for our clean energy future and our economy," said Secretary Chu. "Today's report will help guide our efforts in the coming years to support the offshore wind industry, create new clean energy jobs, and develop environmentally responsible energy resources."

The NREL report finds that harnessing even a fraction of the nation's potential offshore wind resource, estimated to be more than 4,000 gigawatts, could create thousands of jobs and help revitalize America's manufacturing sector, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, diversify U.S. energy supplies, and provide cost-competitive electricity to key coastal regions. The report also reaches the conclusion that while significant challenges remain, effective research, policies, and market commitment will enable offshore wind to play a significant role in the country's energy future. More information is available in the Executive Summary and full NREL report.

This week, the Department also highlighted its continued work with the U.S. Department of Interior to help facilitate and accelerate the deployment of offshore renewable energy technologies on the Outer Continental Shelf. In conjunction with the American Wind Energy Association's North American Offshore Wind Conference, the agencies brought together a broad spectrum of federal agencies, state governments, nongovernmental organizations, and members of academia to discuss ongoing efforts that are leveraging resources and expertise from both Departments to help develop commercial-scale offshore wind and water energy projects. More information on these interagency initiatives is available.

These efforts and the NREL report are playing an important role in the development of the Department of Energy's strategic work plan on offshore wind energy, which will include recommendations for how to effectively reduce the cost of energy generated by offshore wind turbines and shorten the timeline for deploying offshore wind power.

More information on DOE's efforts to promote responsible offshore renewable energy deployment can be found on the Wind and Water Power Program's Web site.