Welcome to the Special Initiative on Offshore Wind

MISSION

The Special Initiative on Offshore Wind is an independent project at the University of Delaware’s College of Earth, Ocean and Environment that supports the advancement of offshore wind as part of a comprehensive solution to the most pressing energy problems facing the United States. The Special Initiative on Offshore Wind provides expertise, analysis, information sharing, and strategic partnership with industry, advocacy and government stakeholders to build understanding and drive the deployment of offshore wind.

OFFSHORE WIND AS A SOLUTION

Wind turbines offshore of Block Island

Directly off the coast from America’s most populated and power hungry cities exists the most significant – yet untapped – potential for generating unlimited clean, renewable energy. Harnessing the full potential of the strong, consistent winds that blow off of our nations coastlines could generate as much as four times the amount of electricity currently generated in America. Tapping just a fraction of this massive offshore wind resource represents a key piece of the strategy for cutting carbon pollution, protecting public health, diversifying our energy supply, and moving America towards a clean energy economy.

Along the Atlantic coast alone, offshore wind represents the most significant developable renewable energy resource for East Coast states. The East Coast potential for offshore wind power is estimated to be more than 1,300 gigawatts of electricity generation to the East Coast – enough to power 85 million American homes and reduce carbon pollution by the equivalent of taking over 100 million cars off the road. When considering shipping lanes, bird flyways, and other sensitive ocean areas there are 330 gigawatts of “developable” resource – more than enough to supply all the electricity needs of the East Coast.

Offshore wind is unique in its ability to supply abundant, pollution-free power when and where we need it the most. In the marine environment, offshore winds blow during the points of highest electricity demand when the most expensive and polluting power sources are used – afternoons, summer heat waves, and winter cold snaps. Diversifying our energy mix with abundant, zero-fuel cost offshore wind energy during hours of peak demand is critical for displacing polluting power sources and protecting ratepayers from price spikes in the volatile fossil fuel markets.

About SIOW

Offshore wind transformerThe Special Initiative on Offshore Wind is housed at the University of Delaware’s College of Earth, Ocean and Environment, with funding from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, New York Community Trust, John Merck Fund and Mertz Gilmore Foundation. Seeing the signals that the time is ripe for a fully dedicated policy, research and catalytic initiative, the support provided by these philanthropic organizations have been a significant booster of offshore wind efforts.

The University of Delaware’s College of Earth, Ocean and Environment (CEOE) is uniquely positioned to build awareness and consensus driving the deployment of offshore wind. The University’s Center for Carbon-free Power Integration has a long record of offshore wind academic research and teaching. Recent notable research has been published on world wind power resources, and on running a region on offshore wind, onshore wind and solar. UD’s offshore wind academic programs are housed in the CEOE, but with strong links to the College of Engineering, Center for Composite Materials, and others.

STRATEGIC FOCUS AREAS

This initiative is separate from, yet complements, existing and long-standing University of Delaware efforts on offshore wind power housed in the College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment, and UD’s Center for Research in Wind.

  • Work to bridge understanding/collective action by capitalizing on lessons learned from Europe and the UK;
  • Produce objective analytics of the value of offshore wind energy;
  • Develop an understanding, compelling message on offshore wind’s value proposition;
  • Conduct, with other offshore wind stakeholders, broad outreach and education to policymakers and decision-makers;
  • Foster collaboration and innovation to increase market size and reduce cost;
  • Serve as a resource to craft customized solutions/answers to states considering and/or pursuing offshore wind.