This map shows the buildout of offshore wind compatible with reaching net-zero emissions by 2050 in five-year increments. Interactive features reveal a breakdown of floating and fixed-bottom deployment. Fixed-bottom turbines, most commonly used today, are built into the sea-floor and are therefore limited by the depth of the water. Floating turbines are not as limited by water depth, allowing them to be sited where there is higher-quality wind. Researchers are developing multiple designs for floating turbines to withstand high winds and large waves.
We see significant growth of offshore wind along the east coast, especially in North Carolina. Opportunity on the east coast is greater than on the west coast because of resource quality as well as the fact that the ocean depth increases rapidly in the Pacific, limiting opportunities for fixed-bottom offshore wind. The Great Lakes region also sees a large increase in offshore wind, assuming developers are able to overcome technical and siting challenges. Without the availability of this offshore wind in the Great Lakes region, states would need to turn to lower quality solar resources or replace the energy from offshore wind with resources like nuclear or gas with carbon capture.