As the United States prepares for the imminent development of large scale offshore wind energy projects, key leaders of this new industry have formed a new offshore wind standards initiative.

Following the experience of the shipping, oil/gas, and European offshore oil and wind industries, this set of national offshore consensus standards is an essential component to help accelerate commercial scale development of the U.S. offshore wind industry. These nationally focused standards and guidelines will address the unique offshore conditions on the U.S. outer continental shelf (OCS) and state waterways (e.g., Great Lakes). The new standards will also allow the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) to adopt better requirements that reflect the latest industry best practices.

“These standards and guidelines will form the basis for BOEM to establish transparent compliance requirements that will help industry in turn provide safe and reliable offshore wind facilities that serve the U.S. electric supply,” said Walt Musial, Principal Engineer at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Chairman of the Offshore Wind Standards working group. “This suite of offshore codes will help clarify the requirements for developers beyond what is currently provided by AWEA OCRP 2012.”

An Offshore Wind Technical Advisory Panel (OWTAP) consisting of industry stakeholders has been formed and will guide the scope of activities for a group of new technical sub-working groups whose end goal is to develop a set of unambiguous national standards and guidelines for offshore wind that is recognized by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). The proposed sub-working groups are:

  • Update of AWEA OCRP (Offshore Compliance Recommended Practices) 2012 

  • Floating Offshore Wind Turbines in U.S. Waters 

  • Geotechnical Data Requirements for U.S. Waters (seabed soil and geology for foundations) 

  • Met-Ocean Data Requirements for U.S. Waters (wind, waves, currents, turbulence, vegetation, etc.) 

The initiative is expected to be a three-year process and collaboration between the U.S. Dept. of Energy, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, Business Network for Offshore Wind, and the American Wind Energy Association.

“Developers and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) need more detail about how to comply with the federal rules for offshore wind on the OCS under 30 CFR 585. This process will deliver more clarity and set the U.S. market on a path to large scale commercial development,” said Liz Burdock, Executive Director of the Business Network for Offshore Wind (The Network). The Network, a 501(C)3 nonprofit, is a subcontractor to NREL and assisting with the management of the process.

To provide information to stakeholders and potential working group participants, NREL will host a webinar on Tuesday, September 26 from 11:00 AM to 12:00 noon EST that will be open to the all interested industry participants. Those interested in attending the webinar can register for the presentation at U.S. Offshore Wind Standards Webinar.

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