It's taken a while, but offshore wind finally appears to be seeing some encouraging momentum in the U.S. This coming Monday, for instance, the White House will be holding "an invitation-only summit on offshore wind for state and federal policymakers," at which a representative from the Business Network for Offshore Wind will be speaking. The very next day, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) will be holding its 2015 offshore windpower conference and exhibition. According to AWEA, the conference comes on the heels of an "historic summer," "a wave of offshore wind power activity, including the start of construction on the first American offshore wind farm." That includes:
- "Steel in the water in Rhode Island": "construction began on the Block Island Wind Farm, the first offshore project in the U.S."
- "Site surveys begin in Maryland": "US Wind began surveying work on the seabed in the 125-square-mile area it leased for commercial wind development off of Ocean City, Md."
- "Oregon moves forward": "there is state support for the floating demonstration offshore wind project planned in Oregon."
- "Virginia groups urge the governor to move forward": "On June 12, 2015, over 50 organizations wrote to Governor Terry McAuliffe (D-VA) to urge him to support policies that would promote offshore wind in Virginia."
- "BOEM meets with South Carolina stakeholders": "The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) held a meeting on Sept. 9, 2015 with the South Carolina Renewable Energy Task Force to discuss an upcoming call for public comment on commercial wind lease areas off South Carolina."
Last but not least, the Wall Street Journal reported earlier this week on a major development for U.S. offshore wind power.
The federal government plans to lease nearly 344,000 acres of the ocean floor off the coast of New Jersey to companies interested in building offshore windmills to generate electricity.
The Interior Department and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management say that if fully developed, the leases could result in enough wind-generated electricity to power 1.2 million homes.
The leases are to be sold Nov. 9.
In sum, this is an encouraging time for the U.S. offshore wind power industry, with many signs of momentum to get excited about. Now, the key will be pushing forward on all these projects, building on successes, and actualizing the enormous potential offshore wind power offers - NREL estimates as much as 4,150 gigawatts of potential capacity - to America.