Offshore Wind Accelerator Project (OWAP)

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Offshore wind presents one of the country’s most significant renewable energy resources with the potential to transform the Atlantic Coast energy portfolio, create a new clean energy industry sector, meet aggressive state renewable energy policy goals, and reduce carbon emissions and ocean acidification at a significant scale.

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory estimates that the total technical resource potential for offshore wind in the US is 2,058 GW. As of 2018, states along the US Atlantic Coast have committed to developing 8GW. The first—and only—offshore wind installation in U.S. waters is the 30MW Block Island Wind Project by developer Deepwater Wind.

The Offshore Wind Accelerator Project (OWAP) has two main focuses: 1) work with states to help them in their efforts to advance offshore wind, and 2) engage in broad-ranging communication efforts about offshore wind news and developments.

Through OWAP, the Clean Energy States Alliance is engaged in several offshore wind activities, including:

  • Working with individual States to assist with the development of strategic, long-term policies to advance offshore wind in the U.S.
  • Convening state energy offices and environmental agencies from the Northeast and Mid-States to cooperate and communicate on mutual topics of interest.
  • Facilitating multi-state conversations around offshore wind policies and topics to identify potential areas for multi-state collaboration or cooperation.
  • Communicating ideas, policy developments, and technical innovations through public webinars.
  • Releasing the bimonthly OWAP Newsletter, featuring updates and success stories about policy, technology, and financing from the U.S. and around the globe.
  • Working with leading European and UK policy makers to learn about the more established experience with offshore wind in those countries, and sharing those lessons with U.S. energy policy makers.

OWAP has led and coordinated several other offshore wind initiatives over the last decade. These include:

  • Managing the offshore wind component of the Northeast Wind Resource Center (NWRC), a U.S. Department of Energy-supported initiative to promote fact-based offshore wind information and support stakeholder outreach. The NWRC worked with Northeast states to advance offshore wind policy through multi-state dialogue and information exchange with a European advisory board. It also served the information needs of the region.
  • Maintained the Offshore Wind Hub, a website providing open access to documents related to offshore wind policy, technology, economics, and siting. The site contains up-to-date information for all Atlantic coast states from Maine to Maryland. It is now managed by the University of Massachusetts.
  • Helped coordinate a project funded by the U.S. Department of Energy to develop a roadmap for multi-state cooperation on offshore wind development. The major participants in the project were the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (grant recipient), the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources, and the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources. For more info, click here. This project is now funded by private donations and has expanded to include the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, the Delaware Division of Energy and Climate, the Maryland Energy Administration, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, and the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission.

OWAP is funded in part by private foundations that understand the critical importance of tapping the U.S.’s offshore wind energy potential to achieve the country’s clean energy, energy security, carbon reduction, and job creation goals. The project is seeking additional funding to support its work.

Photo courtesy Ørsted US Offshore Wind -  Block Island Wind Farm.