Offshore Wind Energy Market Assessment

NREL’s annual offshore wind energy market assessment outlines the global and U.S. offshore wind energy industries’ current state and trends.

Every year, NREL researchers assess the offshore wind energy market on behalf of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Wind Energy Technologies Office (WETO). Written by NREL wind energy researchers, the resulting Offshore Wind Market Report provides unbiased reporting of offshore wind energy market trends, technologies, and costs.

Researchers analyze data obtained from a wide variety of sources about offshore wind energy projects that are both operating and under development to offer past, current, and forward-looking perspectives. Those sources, which are also validated against each other and other sources, include:

  • NREL’s internal offshore wind database, detailing project characteristics, economic attributes, technical specifications, and installation as well as operations and maintenance information for 2,079 offshore wind energy projects in 49 countries, which totals an active-plus-dormant capacity of 831,991 megawatts (MW)
  • 4C Offshore’s Wind Database
  • The U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s online published data
  • BloombergNEF’s Renewable Energy Project Database.

The researchers consider four areas of the industry: the U.S. offshore wind energy market, the global offshore wind energy market, siting and technology trends, and domestic and global cost and finances.

Key Findings

A wind turbine in the ocean at sunset overlain with the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy logo and the words “Offshore Wind Market Report: 2022 Edition.”
In DOE's Offshore Wind Market Report: 2022 Edition, NREL researchers highlight lower costs and increasing capacity in offshore wind energy in the United States and globally. Cover by NREL

In the report, the authors detail the global and domestic offshore wind energy industries to provide readers with context and help them navigate technical and market barriers and opportunities.

The 2022 assessment provides data and trends in wind energy development, technology, cost, and performance through 2021 for the global wind energy industry and from Jan. 1, 2021, through May 31, 2022, for the domestic wind energy industry as well as forecasts for the near future.

The researchers’ key findings of the U.S. offshore wind energy market, outlined in the executive summary, highlight:

  • A growing pipeline in 2021, which increased by 14% to a potential generating capacity of 40 gigawatts (GW), which, when built, would be enough to power about 13 million American homes
  • Two operational U.S. plants, which provide 42 MW of wind energy (in Rhode Island and Virginia), and two more under construction (in Massachusetts and New York)
  • Procurement goals for offshore wind energy in eight states for a total of 40 GW of wind energy capacity by 2040
  • Expanding offshore wind energy development potential through federal leasing, which added over 7 GW, with eight new lease areas in the Atlantic and two new Wind Energy Areas designated off the California coast totaling over 4.5 GW of potential capacity.

Their key findings, from a global perspective, on the offshore wind energy market include:

  • A doubling of the world’s floating offshore wind energy pipeline to total over 60 GW
  • New offshore wind installations in 2021that increased global capacity by over 17 GW of offshore wind energy for a total of over 50 GW from 257 projects
  • Increased offshore wind turbine sizes, with average capacities over 7 MW and average rotor diameters at 156 meters
  • Growing interest in the production of clean hydrogen using offshore wind energy, with the first such project aiming to be completed in 2022.


Offshore Wind Market Report: 2022 Edition, DOE Technical Report (2022)

Offshore Wind Market Report: 2021 Edition, DOE Technical Report (2021)

2019 Offshore Wind Market Report, DOE Technical Report (2019)

2018 Offshore Technologies Wind Market Report, DOE Technical Report (2018)

2017 Offshore Wind Technologies Market Report, DOE Technical Report (2017)

To complement the NREL-produced offshore wind energy market report, WETO simultaneously releases a land-based wind energy market report, prepared by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and a distributed wind energy market report, produced by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

Find these other 2022 reports as well as past offshore wind energy market reports (2012–2021) via WETO’s Wind Market Reports: 2022 Edition web page.


Walt Musial

Research Platform Lead, Offshore Wind