The Obama Administration continued its summer of climate activism with the announcement of a National Offshore Wind Strategy that envisions wind turbine arrays off America’s eastern, western, southern, and interior shorelines generating 86 gigawatts of electricity by 2050—enough to supply 23 million American homes, roughly the combined population of California, Texas, and Georgia.
North America has lagged behind Europe in offshore wind development, with the first commercial deployment, off New England, only earlier this year. However, “the Obama Administration and the wind power industry see offshore wind as a huge untapped source of zero-carbon electricity which, if fully developed, has the ability to generate twice the electricity the U.S. produced in 2015,” Climate Central reports.
The Administration strategy identified nearly three dozen policies to support offshore wind development over the next five years, including gathering better scientific data on the best meteorological and sea floor conditions for siting wind farms, supporting research into improved turbines, developing design standards and safety guidelines, and reducing interagency friction to “facilitate wind farm development,” the outlet reports. The strategy also contemplates the U.S. government undertaking “full-scale demonstration projects” in offshore wind.
The Administration anticipates large-scale wind development will occur off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, western Gulf of Mexico, around Hawaii, and in the Great Lakes. With fewer than five months left in President Barack Obama’s term, however, the initiatives the strategy identifies—but for the most part does not price—will depend on future administrations to embrace.