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GLRPPR Sector Resource: Offshore Wind Energy Permitting: A Survey of U.S. Project Developers

Offshore Wind Energy Permitting: A Survey of U.S. Project Developers

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has adopted a goal to generate 20% of the nation's electricity from wind power by 2030. Achieving this "20% Wind Scenario" in 2030 requires acceleration of the current rate of wind project development. Offshore wind resources contribute substantially to the nation's wind resource, yet to date no offshore wind turbines have been installed in the U.S. Progress developing offshore wind projects has been slowed by technological challenges, uncertainties about impacts to the marine environment, siting and permitting challenges, and viewshed concerns. To address challenges associated with siting and permitting, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) surveyed offshore wind project developers about siting and project development processes, their experience with the environmental permitting process, and the role of coastal and marine spatial planning (CMSP) in development of the offshore wind industry. Based on the responses to survey questions, we identify several priority recommendations to support offshore wind development. Recommendations also include considerations for developing supporting industries in the U.S. and how to use Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning (CMSP) to appropriately consider ocean energy among existing ocean uses. In this report, we summarize findings, discuss the implications, and suggest actions to improve the permitting and siting process.


Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL)

Resource Type:

Date of Publication:
November 2010

Associated Sectors:

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