US offshore wind making progress, but craves policy certainty

A report produced by Navigant Consulting for the Energy Department in the United States has indicated that there is a need to provide policy certainty in order to maximise offshore wind development.

By Ritesh Gupta

According to the report, 2014 Offshore Wind Market and Economic Analysis, the US offshore wind industry is transitioning from early development to demonstration of commercial viability. While there are no commercial-scale projects in operation, there are 14 US projects in advanced development, defined as having either been awarded a lease, conducted baseline or geophysical studies, or obtained a power purchase agreement.

Two of the more advanced projects – Cape Wind and Deepwater’s Block Island project – have moved into their initial stages of construction, while Ocean Offshore Energy has quietly advanced efforts to install a smaller (7.5 MW) near-shore project in the US Virgin Islands. Other large-scale projects, however, continue to show limited advancement.

On the demonstration project front, the Department of Energy completed the down-selection process for its Advanced Technology Demonstration (ATD) awards programme, choosing three of the original seven ATD projects to receive up to $47m each in federal funding to reach full deployment.