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Title: Assessment of Ports for Offshore Wind Development in the United States

As offshore wind energy develops in the United States, port facilities will become strategic hubs in the offshore wind farm supply chain because all plant and transport logistics must transit through these facilities. Therefore, these facilities must provide suitable infrastructure to meet the specific requirements of the offshore wind industry. As a result, it is crucial that federal and state policy-makers and port authorities take effective action to position ports in the offshore wind value chain to take best advantage of their economic potential. The U.S. Department of Energy tasked the independent consultancy GL Garrad Hassan (GL GH) with carrying out a review of the current capability of U.S. ports to support offshore wind project development and an assessment of the challenges and opportunities related to upgrading this capability to support the growth of as many as 54 gigawatts of offshore wind installed in U.S. waters by 2030. The GL GH report and the open-access web-based Ports Assessment Tool resulting from this study will aid decision-makers in making informed decisions regarding the choice of ports for specific offshore projects, and the types of investments that would be required to make individual port facilities suitable to serve offshore wind manufacturing, installationmore » and/or operations. The offshore wind industry in the United States is still in its infancy and this study finds that additional port facilities capable of supporting offshore wind projects are needed to meet the anticipated project build-out by 2030; however, no significant barriers exist to prevent the development of such facilities. Furthermore, significant port capabilities are in place today with purpose-build port infrastructure currently being built. While there are currently no offshore wind farms operating in the United States, much of the infrastructure critical to the success of such projects does exist, albeit in the service of other industries. This conclusion is based on GL GH’s review of U.S. ports infrastructure and its readiness to support the development of proposed offshore wind projects in U.S. waters. Specific examples of facility costs and benefits are provided for five coastal regions (North Atlantic, South Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, Great Lakes, and Pacific) around the country. GL GH began this study by identifying the logistical requirements of offshore wind ports to service offshore wind. This review was based on lessons learned through industry practice in Northern Europe. A web-based port readiness assessment tool was developed to allow a capability gap analysis to be conducted on existing port facilities based on the identified requirements. Cost models were added to the assessment tool, which allowed GL GH to estimate the total upgrade cost to a port over the period 2014-2030 based on a set of regional project build-out scenarios. Port fee information was gathered from each port allowing an estimate of the potential revenue to the port under this same set of scenarios. The comparison of these revenue and improvement cost figures provides an initial indication of the level of offshore wind port readiness. To facilitate a more in-depth infrastructure analysis, six ports from different geographic regions, with varied levels of interest and preparedness towards offshore wind, were evaluated by modeling a range of installation strategies and port use types to identify gaps in capability and potential opportunities for economic development. Commonalities, trends, and specific examples from these case studies are presented and provide a summary of the current state of offshore wind port readiness in the U.S. and also illustrate the direction some ports have chosen to take to prepare for offshore wind projects. For example, the land area required for wind turbine and foundation manufacturing is substantial, particularly due to the large size of offshore wind components. Also, the necessary bearing capacities of the quayside and storage area are typically greater for offshore wind components than for more conventional cargo handling. As a result, most U.S. ports will likely require soil strength improvements before they can fully support offshore wind project construction. As U.S. ports and offshore wind developers look to work together on specific projects, they will encounter synergies and challenges. The challenges they face will include identifying sources of funding for the facility improvements required, and addressing ports’ typical desire to engage in long-term partnerships on the order of 10-20 years. Early projects will especially feel these challenges as they set the precedent for these partnerships in the United States. This study seeks to provide information about gaps, costs, and opportunities to aid these discussions.« less
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  1. DNV GL
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Garrad Hassan America
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE; USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE)
Country of Publication:
United States
17 WIND ENERGY Offshore Wind; Wind Energy; Ports; Renewable Energy