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The Hidden Potential of Offshore Wind Turbines

Updated: Mar 25

Land-based wind turbines have become a more common sight across the United States, but coastal wind energy has a lot of untapped potential. According to the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), coastal winds are more consistent than land winds and are strongest during hours of peak demand. In addition, about 80 percent of the U.S. population lives near a coast or Great Lake, so providing power close to population centers can reduce the amount of infrastructure needed to serve customers.


However, offshore wind turbines could impact the marine environment by producing noise, spilling chemicals, or altering nearby currents. Currently, the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is working with the Department of Energy to explore and minimize these impacts.


The potential of offshore wind energy has recently been realized through record-setting leases to energy companies for developing offshore wind farms in the Atlantic near New York and New Jersey. In March of 2022, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management sold six leases for a total of over $4 billion. In just one month, this sale was 10 times the previous 2018 record for four offshore wind energy leases and 200 times the 2021 offshore oil and gas leases record for 308 leases.


Once developed, these leases could supply large amounts of renewable energy to coastal regions and city centers in New York and New Jersey. Offshore wind energy is particularly important for making clean energy accessible to these areas because of the challenging implementation of traditional power lines due to their urban density and distance from clean power plants.


Sources


Gearino, Dan. “Inside Clean Energy: Explaining the Record-Breaking Offshore Wind Sale”, Inside Climate News, 3 Mar. 2022. https://insideclimatenews.org/news/03032022/inside-clean-energy-offshore-wind-lease-sale/.


Hartman, Liz. “Top 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Offshore Wind Energy”, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, 30 Aug. 2021. https://www.energy.gov/eere/wind/articles/top-10-things-you-didnt-know-about-offshore-wind-energy.


“Offshore Wind Energy: Protecting Marine Life”, NOAA. Accessed and archived 31 May 2022. https://web.archive.org/web/20220531203337/https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/topic/offshore-wind-energy

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