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Good News x2 for U.S. Offshore Wind

U.S. Offshore Wind Could Provide 20 Percent of Electricity by 2030

U.S. officials calculate that the total potential for offshore wind generation is more than 4,000 gigawatts — or about four times the generating capacity currently carried on the U.S. grid. That estimate assumes one 5-megawatt wind turbine could be placed on every square kilometer of water with an annual average wind speed above 7 meters-per-second. This map illustrates the offshore wind resources by region and depth. (via Yale e360)

The U.S. could generate 20 percent of its electricity from wind energy by 2030 if it develops offshore wind farms in the coastal waters of 26 states, according to a report by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Lab [PDF]. Developing the nation’s offshore wind potential would also create $200 billion in “new economic activity” and 43,000 jobs, according to the report. While the U.S. currently leads the world in installed land-based wind capacity, the nation has no major offshore wind farms. Last week, however, U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar signed a 28-year offshore lease for the nation's first offshore wind project off the coast of Cape Cod, Mass., which would produce an average of 182 megawatts. State and federal officials are now considering other major offshore wind farm proposals. The Department of Energy report said that if offshore wind farms are densely developed along the U.S. coastline, such installations could theoretically provide four times the electricity capacity that now exists in the U.S.

This post originally appeared on e360 Digest.

Google Backs Offshore Grid To Link Wind Farms Off U.S. East Coast

Google and a U.S. financial firm are investing in a proposed $5 billion undersea transmission line that would connect future offshore wind farms along the mid-Atlantic coast, a development that could eventually remove a major hurdle for the emerging U.S. offshore wind industry. Google and New York-based Good Energies will each will assume a 37.5 percent equity stake in the project, the New York Times reports. The 350-mile transmission line, with a projected capacity of 6,000 megawatts — equivalent to the output of five nuclear reactors — would be installed in shallow federal waters 15 to 20 miles offshore and stretch from northern New Jersey to Norfolk, Va. The first 150 miles of construction could be completed by 2016, according to the Times. While the proposal is expected to face some challenges, industry experts and federal officials called it a promising development. “It provides a gathering point for offshore wind for multiple projects up and down the coast,” said Jon Wellinghoff, chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Last week, U.S. officials reported that offshore wind has the potential to meet 30 percent of the nation’s electricity needs by 2030.

This post originally appeared on e360 Digest.

Image of proposed undersea transmission line via The New York Times

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