What size market will offshore wind farms create for the U.S. marine industry?

Quite substantial

March 16, 2010

Governors back offshore wind development

Governors of 29 U.S.states today called for federal research funding for offshore wind energy development and for streamlined permitting processes for both offshore and on-shore wind development projects.

Iowa Governor Chet Culver and Rhode Island Governor Donald L. Carcieri today released "Great Expectations: U.S. Wind Energy Development," the Governors' Wind Energy Coalition's 2010 Recommendations. Governor Culver and Governor Carcieri are the chair and vice chair of the 29-state organization.

"The title of the governors' recommendations could not be more apt," said Governor Culver. "Americans have great expectations for the nation's energy future, and these recommendations from the nation's governors to Congress and the Administration meet those expectations," Governor Culver said.

"This is the first set of comprehensive wind energy recommendations ever submitted to Congress by a group of the nation's governors," said Governor Carcieri. "These recommendations could not be more timely. Congressional action on the energy bill seems to have stalled. It is our hope that these recommendations -- and the national bipartisan consensus they represent -- will advance the energy deliberations now under way in Congress," Governor Carcieri stated.

The recommendations call for actions by both Congress and the Administration.

On offshore wind, the governors say:

If the nation is to meet the goal of providing 20 percent of its electric needs from wind power by 2030 and then continue wind’s expansion to provide even greater contributions in both the electricity and the transportation sectors, it must develop and use wind energy resources from all of its wind-rich regions, including coastal and Great Lakes offshore resources. Unfortunately, the nation has neglected to provide adequate research and development to support the development of resources located offshore. Federal research funding is needed to develop new types of turbines, offshore installation and mooring techniques, and economical approaches for placing transmission lines farther from shore in deeper, rougher water.

Several European countries, including Denmark, Germany and the United Kingdom, are actively developing offshore wind already and have gained considerable related experience over the past decade. The coastal waters surrounding much of northern Europe tend to be fairly shallow – 100 feet or less in depth, allowing wind deployment with technology and techniques that have evolved from those used on land. In contrast, much of the offshore opportunity in the U.S. exists in deeper waters, since the continental shelf in the U.S. drops off more rapidly than in much of Europe. Consequently, the technological challenges for U.S. offshore deployment are greater than those in Europe, and will require new approaches and technological advances that are currently at a very early stage.

The U.S. now has an opportunity to take the lead in developing these advances and techniques, but will soon lose this opportunity to Europe and China if aggressive action is not undertaken. The governors recommend that this opportunity be pursued as a national energy priority, and those from the coastal states pledge to collaborate closely with federal government agencies to define and conduct the needed research, development and deployment activities.

The other recommendations are:

Adopt a renewable electricity standard.

Develop new interstate electric transmission system infrastructure as needed to provide access to premier renewable energy resources both on-shore and offshore.

Streamline permitting processes for both offshore and on-shore wind energy development projects.

Expand the U.S. Department of energy's work with the states and the wind industry to accelerate innovation.

Extend the Treasury Department grant program in lieu of the investment tax credit, and adopt a long-term renewable energy production tax credit with provisions to broaden the pool of eligible investors.

Great Expectations: U.S. Wind Energy Development, Governors' Wind Energy Coalition's 2010 Wind Energy Recommendations is available at

The Governors' Wind Energy Coalition provides national leadership on wind energy policy. The Coalition is a bipartisan group of 29 of the nation's governors who are dedicated to the development of the nation's wind energy resources to meet America's domestic energy demands in an environmentally responsible manner -- while reducing the nation's dependence on imported energy sources and stimulating state and national economic development.

Through its multi-state coordinated efforts, the Coalition is engaged in several national initiatives: encourage sound national policy and legislation for the development and distribution of wind-generated energy; communicate and demonstrate the value and benefits of wind energy to consumers, energy companies and policy makers; share state best practices in wind and renewable energy policy development; create an environment of support for those who wish to develop responsible wind energy resources; and support development of infrastructure for the expansion of wind energy across the United States.

marine log logo