Offshore wind has the potential to deliver 90% of America’s projected 2050 electricity demand, according to a new report
The report, Offshore Wind for America, released by the Environment America Research & Policy Center and Frontier Group, examines US offshore wind potential by coastal region and by state. It also documents the status of existing projects and technological advances.
The report examined the Atlantic, Pacific, Gulf and Great Lakes regions and found that each has the capacity to develop offshore wind. The Atlantic region is the clear frontrunner in terms of its potential to generate offshore wind, with the capacity, if fully developed, to generate four times as much electricity as the region used in 2019. The Gulf is second, followed by the Pacific and then the Great Lake regions in their potential capacity.
Environment America Research & Policy Center senior director Johanna Neumann said, “Offshore wind is a renewable energy gold mine begging to be used.
“If we went out today and maximised its potential, offshore wind alone could provide almost double the amount of electricity used by the entire US in 2019. But even if we just unlock a fraction of America’s offshore wind capacity, it would help put us on track for a future powered by 100% renewable energy.”
In total, 29 states were examined in the report. Massachusetts has the potential to generate the most offshore wind power of any state, while Maine has by far the highest ratio of potential offshore wind power to its current and future electricity needs. For projections of 2050 electricity demand, the report assumes that US buildings, industry and transportation will all be powered by electricity rather than fossil fuels by mid-century.
“Nineteen states have the potential to produce more power from offshore wind than all the electricity they used in 2019,” said co-author Bryn Huxley-Reicher of Frontier Group. “And 11 states have the technical capacity to produce more electricity than they would be expected to use in 2050, even if they go all-electric. When you pair that potential with energy conservation and efficiency, you can start to imagine a world that really is fossil fuel-free.”
Environment America Research & Policy Center associate Hannah Read said, “Offshore wind is already a tremendous success internationally, so these are not uncharted waters.
“America needs to follow the trend and develop renewable energy sources close to where we need the power, on our coasts where 40% of Americans live.”
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