Offshore Wind: Can the United States Catch up with Europe?

Jan 01, 2016
  • Description

Efforts are underway to bring more offshore wind capacity to the United States. The first U.S. offshore wind farm is scheduled to come online in the fourth quarter of 2016 at Block Island, a small island 12 miles off the coast of Rhode Island. The Block Island project, run by Deepwater Wind, will be much smaller than European installations, with just five wind turbines generating 30 MW, enough to power 17,000 homes. The six-megawatt turbines will be some of the tallest in the world, rising 589 feet above sea level. They are being supplied by Alstom, a French company that was recently acquired by General Electric. 10 The Block Island project will serve as a pilot for Deepwater Wind, which is planning a larger, 1,000+ MW capacity project in the area called Deepwater ONE. These projects are just the beginning for the U.S. offshore wind industry, with the federal government predicting the United States will have 22,000 megawatts of offshore wind capacity by 2030. However, it remains to be seen if the United States can duplicate the European Union's broad success with offshore wind production.