On Sept. 9, the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Department of the Interior jointly announced their collaborative plan, the National Offshore Wind Strategy: Facilitating the Development of the Offshore Wind Industry in the United States, which was put in place in an effort to build upon their joint offshore wind strategy published in 2011 and to continue the expansion and growth of the offshore wind industry in the United States. The Departments stated in their announcement on Friday that this plan “could help enable 86 gigawatts of offshore wind in the United States by 2050,” which, as the plan highlights, could have extensive benefits to the country, including the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 1.8 percent; a savings of approximately $2 billion in avoided mortality, morbidity and economic damages associated with air pollution; and a 5 percent reduction in annual water consumption.

The plan sets forth a framework for federal action that is projected to assist the development of the wind industry. The Department of Energy and the Department of the Interior outline 30 actions that need to be taken to facilitate this growth. These actions all fall within three categories:

  1. Reducing Costs and Technology Risks – the actions in this category include the Departments’ proposals regarding (a) establishing standard methodologies for gathering metocean data in order to increase safety and reduce costs for developers, (b) advancing offshore wind plant technology and (c) developing a U.S. supply chain for the offshore wind industry.
  2. Supporting Effective Stewardship – the actions in this category include the Department of the Interior’s commitments to improve the consistency of the regulatory process for the offshore wind industry, including promises to communicate potential regulatory changes as early as 2017, and the Department of Energy and the Department of the Interior’s joint commitments to invest in scientific research surrounding the impacts of offshore wind on the environment and marine life.
  3. Increasing Understanding of the Benefits and Costs of Offshore Wind – the actions in this category include the Department of Energy’s commitment to focus on evaluating the interconnection and integration of offshore wind energy and the Department of Energy and the Department of the Interior’s joint focus on quantifying the benefits of offshore wind.

For the full text of the plan, see the National Offshore Wind Strategy: Facilitating the Development of the Offshore Wind Industry in the United States.