Offshore Wind Assessment for the Southeastern United States

Last modified: 
August 29, 2016 - 9:35pm
Type: Thesis
Year of publication: 2016
Date published: 04/2016
Authors: Kaylie Bissonnette, Maximilian Christman, Jinxi Feng, Yixuan Zhang
Institution: Duke University
City: Durham, NC
Academic department: Nicholas School of the Environment
Degree: Master of Environmental Management

This report provides an assessment of the current state of potential offshore wind generation in the southeastern United States. Analysis in this report aims to provide input to our client, Southern Company, on expanding their renewable generation portfolio. While offshore wind has begun to thrive in the European Union, the United States, with significantly larger areas of available land, has largely avoided offshore installations in favor of cheaper onshore farms. However, there is significant offshore wind potential in the coastal areas of the U.S. including the southeast where our client, Southern Company, operates. Numerous considerations including endangered wildlife, limited policy incentives, and widespread stakeholder impacts have kept offshore wind from becoming practical in the U.S. Emerging new technologies, more consistent operation, and careful planning and siting may allow a utility with a large customer base and significant influence like Southern Company to overcome the financial hurdles involved in construction and installation of wind farms. Limited federal and state policies within Southern Company’s service region, however, remain a significant challenge and will likely keep offshore wind as an unfavorable source of renewable energy for the foreseeable future.

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