400 Ocean Observations in Support of Offshore Renewable Energy Development

Monday, 7 January 2013
Exhibit Hall 3 (Austin Convention Center)
Angel McCoy, McCoy Environmental Group, Inc., Hyattsville, MD; and C. M. Hall and M. C. Boatman

The existing Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) infrastructure contains the technology and observations relevant to offshore renewable energy development on the U.S. Atlantic and Pacific coasts; now it is time to make this technology applicable to the industry. In the 2011 President's State of the Union address, President Obama called for 80% of U.S. electricity to be from clean energy sources by 2035. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) technical report entitled, Assessment of Offshore Wind Energy Resources for the United States, estimates the technical offshore wind energy potential to be 4,150 GW within 50 nautical miles of coastal areas (NREL, 2010). According to the Department of Energy Water Power Program, “Energy from the ocean waves could supply 260 terawatt-hours of electricity per year for the United States” (USDOE, 2011). In order to meet U.S. clean energy goals and take advantage of the wind and water power resources available to the U.S., an extensive network of real-time, high spatial and temporal resolution resource data is required. Real-time hub height wind velocity data, planetary boundary layer data, ocean current data, and wave measurements are necessary for informed decision-making related to offshore renewable energy development.
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