Offshore wind could generate almost 17,000TWh annually if all of the US technically-feasible resource were to be developed, estimates the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). Hawaii alone is capable of generating more than 2,800TWh a year.
On a state-by-state basis, the NREL finds the next leading states are:
- California, 2,663TWh
- Michigan, 1,740TWh
- North Carolina, 1,270TWh
- Louisiana, 1,201TWh
- Texas, 1,101TWh.
The geographic focus of the US’s emerging offshore wind market is on waters off the country’s north east Atlantic coastline, in contrast with the NREL’s analysis of greatest potential.
Nine eastern US states seem likely to encourage the development of offshore wind projects off their shores over the coming two decades: Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, Rhode Island, North Carolina and South Carolina. NREL estimates their combined annual offshore wind generation capacity at almost 2,800TWh – equivalent to Hawaii’s resource.
The report compares the generating potential of ten renewable energy technologies. Rural utility-scale solar photovoltaics could generate 280,600TWh per annum, dwarfing offshore wind's potential contribution. Concentrated solar power, onshore wind and advanced geothermal are also estimated as having greater annual generating capacity than offshore wind.