At this moment, 30 megawatts of offshore wind turbines are sending power to Narraganset Electric, the National Grid affiliate serving Rhode Island. They are the only offshore turbines in operation in the U.S., a pittance considering Europe is closing in on 20,000 MW in operation.
But in the U.S. renewable sector, offshore wind is generating increasing excitement. Between dropping costs, ambitious state renewable targets, and a host of European developers looking to bring their knowledge stateside, the long-awaited U.S. offshore wind surge is now widely seen as imminent.
Offshore wind development is especially crucial in the Northeast. Blue states like New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts are looking to up their clean energy usage, which entails using wind and solar to power cities near the coast. But the abundant land needed for onshore wind and solar farms is difficult to find near population centers while piping power long distances is inefficient. Besides, New York has neither the wind resource of Texas nor the solar intensity of California.
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