Recent offshore lease sales demonstrate that not only has offshore wind arrived in the U.S., but it is clearly set to soar. The level of participation today, especially from seasoned offshore oil and gas developers, exemplifies that the offshore industry is an advocate for the ‘all of the above’ energy portfolio.
Offshore wind could generate 160,000 direct, indirect and induced jobs, with 40,000 new U.S. jobs with the first 8 gigawatts of production.
In fact, a recent report from the Special Initiative on Offshore Wind (SIOW), said that offshore wind investment in U.S. waters will require $70 billion by 2030 just based on current demand.
Maintaining this tremendous level of interest from offshore wind developers requires a reliable inventory of regularly scheduled offshore wind sales and the ability to develop those resources. Coastal communities and extreme environmental groups opposing seismic surveying and the issuance of incidental harassment authorizations under the Marine Mammal Protection Act may literally take the wind out of these sales. Just as it is for offshore oil and gas development, seismic surveying is vital for offshore wind development, specifically in the siting of wind turbines and transmission corridors.
Unfortunately, a long-term pipeline of wind lease sales does not currently exist. In fact, with the exception of a sales proposed offshore New York or potentially California in 2020, there aren’t any future lease sales scheduled, leaving nothing upon which developers can plan future investments.
NOIA is dedicated to working with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, coastal communities, consumers, energy producers and other stakeholders in working through these challenges to make offshore wind a reality for millions of Americans.