Pacific Offshore Wind Potential and Resource Characterization
Offshore Wind Resources
Wind energy holds many economic and environmental benefits. There are a number of great informational resources on the web beyond what is presented on this site. Here are some key sources.
- Wind Projects in the Region from Renewable Northwest
A list of utility-scale wind projects in ID, MT, OR, WA & WY.
- Wind Energy Benefits factsheet from WINDExchange
Updated January 2015.
- WINDExchange website
Wind resource maps, educational resources, the latest news, and more.
- NW Wind Project List & Map
Renewable NW maintains a list of wind projects in the region.
- The American Wind Energy Association website
The primary resource for the wind industry.
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory estimates that the Pacific Northwest's total offshore wind power potential is over 340,000 MW (~220,000 MW in Oregon and ~120,000 MW in Washington), with most of the opportunity at more than 60 meter depths and more than 12 nautical miles (nm) from shore.
Offshore wind in the Pacific can take advantage of a far smoother resource curve than its onshore counterparts. This means a more beneficial performance for utility integration as well as higher efficiencies; early capacity factors show steady performance at 40-45%, compared to 30% for onshore applications.
While the facility must be several miles away from shore in order to reach the relatively uniform wind - and the distance adds costs in transmission and maintenance - turbines can be upscaled from traditional onshore units of 1-3 MW for utility scale wind to 5-10 MW offshore turbines.
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory has developed resource maps describing the offshore wind resource in Oregon and in Washington.
The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory has published a geospatial analysis of energy suitability off of Washington's coast, well into the Outer Continental Shelf.