The Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind pilot project is designed to demonstrate a grid-connected, 12-megawatt offshore wind test facility about 27 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach. Credit: Stephen Boutwell/BOEM
Two years ago, there were no offshore wind farms in U.S. federal waters. Now, there are two farms, with a total of seven turbines in federal waters, producing roughly 32 megawatts of energy. These numbers are about to get a lot higher. The first two commercial-scale offshore wind projects, which will produce around 900 megawatts of energy, are both under construction. The U.S. government aims to deploy 30 gigawatts of wind energy production in federal waters by 2030. The National Ocean Service (NOS) is helping the nation achieve this goal.
Collaborating closely with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), wind energy developers, the marine transportation industry, commercial fishing professionals, and local communities, NOAA is helping ensure that the nation can increase wind energy production while protecting marine life, ecosystems, communities, and the blue economy. NOS provides data and tools to BOEM to help them choose sites, evaluate potential impacts, and maintain accurate ocean data in offshore wind energy areas.
Picking the Right Spot
In addition to the obvious requirement for offshore wind farm locations — sufficient wind — many other factors go into choosing sites. The goal is to choose a spot that will provide the most energy, but that will not interfere with other ocean uses. BOEM is responsible for choosing which areas of U.S. waters to lease to offshore …