Getting Offshore Wind Power on the Grid
Offshore wind power plants need to overcome a number of challenges.

Published on T&D | May 29, 2019

David Mueller, Director of Energy Systems Studies



Chandra Pallem, Principal Consultant



Wind power in North America has been an exclusively land-based resource until December 2016 when the 30-MW five turbines Block Island Wind Farm began supplying power to the grid from off the coast of Rhode Island. Offshore wind power plants now look to be competitive, and several projects are in the planning phases. The emergence of larger wind turbines with designs that eliminate maintenance-intensive gearboxes, coupled with the use of offshore petroleum expertise, have reduced costs and allowed projects to be economically feasible.

Wind power projects overcome what are often large electrical distances, to bridge the gap between the locations of the best wind resources that are often remote from population centers needing the power. An amazing aspect of the North American wind industry has been its ability to secure right of ways and build transmission tie lines, some transmission lines traversing 50 miles or more. The offshore wind industry will also be meeting the challenges of landing the power onshore and transporting it to where it is needed.