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Biden Administration’s Offshore Wind Fantasy  

Author:  | Economics

As this report will demonstrate, the realities of offshore wind planning, development, and construction render the president’s goal unachievable. A single offshore wind project can easily take longer than a decade to develop. Although numerous projects scheduled to be built before 2030 have been announced in the last decade, only one—the 800-MW Vineyard Wind project, to be built off the Massachusetts coast south of Martha’s Vineyard—has begun preliminary construction. And that project is facing at least three lawsuits that are sure to delay its completion.

Even if the president’s goal were physically achievable, it should not be pursued because of offshore wind’s dismal economics. Offshore wind is hugely expensive, much more so than solar, onshore wind, hydropower, and geothermal. And despite proponents’ claims to the contrary, the costs of installing offshore wind facilities are not decreasing. Furthermore, economic and physical constraints are likely to raise the costs of offshore wind projects, as developers compete for scarce resources. Moreover, because it is inherently intermittent—producing electricity only when the wind blows—offshore wind will require significant investment in backup supply resources, primarily gas- and oil-fired generators, to compensate for the more than 50% of all hours when the wind is not blowing. Although wind and solar proponents claim that battery storage will eliminate the need for fossil-fuel backup generation, the costs, raw-materials requirements, and manufacturing capacity needed to produce the quantity of battery storage that is needed to provide even three or four hours of backup power would be staggering.

February 3, 2022

Download original document: “The Biden Administration’s Offshore Wind Fantasy

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The copyright of this material resides with the author(s). As part of its noncommercial effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Queries e-mail.

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