Five grand challenges of offshore wind financing in the United States

Tyler A. Hansen*, Elizabeth J. Wilson, Jeffrey P. Fitts, Malte Jansen, Philipp Beiter, Bjarne Steffen, Bolun Xu, Jérôme Guillet, Marie Münster, Lena Kitzing

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Abstract

Offshore wind energy has the potential to play a critical role in fostering a renewable energy transformation in the United States. This owes to its massive technical potential, strategic location near densely populated coastlines, and—relative to onshore wind and solar—high capacity factors and consistent production. The Biden Administration's target to build 30 GW of offshore wind capacity by 2030 (from 0.04 GW today) requires the creation and swift development of a new industry that interlinks the wind and power industries with the maritime sector. Critical to its success is financing. While financial capital is abundant, deploying it for offshore wind faces major challenges. We identify and describe five grand challenges affecting offshore wind finance in the U.S. Failing to address these challenges may put deployment targets at risk. The challenges include (1) Early years financing: navigating the complexities, timing mismatches, and high costs of projects in the development phase; (2) Policy support for project financial solvency: addressing the uncertainty and systematic transfers of tax credits away from offshore wind, characteristic of the U.S. Investment Tax Credit; (3) Workforce development: building a skilled workforce for an emerging market; (4) Transmission and integration barriers: upgrading the power grid to reliably support large scale offshore wind integration; and (5) Floating wind development: financing the development and scale-up of floating offshore wind technologies. The second challenge has already been solved to a large extent by the Inflation Reduction Act.
Original languageEnglish
Article number103329
JournalEnergy Research and Social Science
Volume107
Number of pages8
ISSN2214-6296
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2024

Keywords

  • Offshore wind energy
  • Renewable energy finance
  • Energy policy and regulation
  • Grand challenges

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