The Business Network for Offshore Wind today published its Transmission White Paper, which outlines transmission planning policy options needed to support the sustained growth of the U.S. offshore wind industry.

The white paper aims to inform grid operators and U.S. decision makers in local, state, and federal regulatory bodies regarding policy options to facilitate the integration of a minimum of 30 GW of offshore wind capacity in the electrical grid by 2035.

States have committed to a combined goal of 30 GW of offshore wind generation capacity online by 2035. 10 GW of capacity have received offtake and the shortage of onshore interconnection points is already apparent. The inability to resolve gaps between state offshore wind targets, federal permitting timelines, and the grid operator interconnection queue has the potential to adversely affect the long-term growth of the U.S. offshore wind development. The Network’s Transmission White Paper considers policy options that can drive needed resolution of the transmission planning and coordination challenges.

“Offshore wind power could dramatically reshape the electricity supplies of many coastal U.S. states with policy support. For U.S. offshore wind investment and development, investors and developers must see a sustainable pipeline of offshore wind projects,” says Liz Burdock, president and CEO of the Business Network. “This White Paper answers the question of how the U.S. can avoid limiting future offshore wind growth due to at-capacity onshore electric grids.”

The Transmission White Paper considers the complex regulatory ecosystem that governs both offshore wind transmission planning and the broader planning of the electricity grid.  The White Paper identifies six recommendations that should be considered by grid operators and policymakers as they plan how best to resolve the “chicken and egg” challenge of generation versus transmission development. Each is critical to resolving the transmission challenges the U.S. faces, and includes transmission planning that weighs all benefits, incorporates public policy requirements, is proactive, plans for post-2035 offshore wind needs, quantifies benefits, and more thoroughly synchronizes inter-regional planning.

“The clock is ticking for the U.S. as the global offshore wind industry continues to innovate around us,” says Brandon Burke, policy and outreach director for the Business Network. “The U.S. must decide now whether it wants to manufacture offshore wind project components on American shores or continue the costly effort of bringing in parts manufactured abroad. The white paper is a key step forward towards resolving the transmission planning and coordination issues that will determine where U.S. offshore wind project components are manufactured.”

This White Paper was developed through a collaborative effort that leveraged the extensive knowledge-base of the Network’s Grid and Transmission Working Group, a select group of participants drawn from the Business Network’s Leadership-level membership, and nationally recognized transmission experts Rob Gramlich and Michael Goggin of Grid Strategies LLC. Fara Courtney, Outer Harbor Consulting, convened and facilitated the Grid and Transmission Working Group on behalf of the Business Network.