Full Title: 2035 and Beyond: Offshore Wind Technical Report
Author(s): Umed Paliwal, Nikit Abhyankar, Taylor McNair, Jose Dominguez Bennett, David Wooley, Jamie Matos, Ric O’Connell, and Amol Phadke
Publisher(s): Energy Innovation
Publication Date: August 1, 2023
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Plummeting costs and technical performance improvements of offshore wind have dramatically enhanced the prospects for near-term power sector decarbonization. The high resource quality of offshore wind in the United States, coupled with rapidly falling technology costs, makes it possible for offshore wind to provide 10-25% of total electricity generation in the U.S. power system in 2050 without substantially impacting wholesale electricity costs. This report, 2035 Report 3.0, examines the prospect of achieving 90% clean electricity by 2035 and 95% clean electricity by 2050. Three scenarios — Low, Medium, and High Ambition — detail the electricity system impacts of increased offshore wind growth providing 10-25% of total generation.
The United States has some of the highest offshore wind potential in the world. When combined, the U.S. coastline, including the Great Lakes region, has the technical potential of nearly 4,000 GW of offshore wind capacity. Over 1,000 GW of this potential is highly productive, with capacity factors above 50%, suggesting offshore wind can provide affordable and reliable clean energy generation across the nation.
Scaling the offshore wind industry to provide 10-25% of total electricity generation in 2050 will require an ambitious, long-term policy agenda, robust industrial policy support, and large investments in the supply chain, infrastructure, and transmission systems. In order to achieve net zero targets, the U.S. will need to deploy new renewable energy capacity at nearly four times today’s annual rate of deployment. But the benefits can be huge — development of the U.S. offshore wind industry would provide a highly productive, reliable clean energy resource needed to help achieve a 2050 economy-wide net zero target, alongside ambitious land-based renewable energy development.