NREL's recently published "Oregon Offshore Wind Site Feasibility and Cost StudyPDF" indicates the cost of deploying floating offshore wind could be 30% to 40% less than previously estimated.

The study, funded by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, modeled the potential costs of floating offshore wind farms at least 10 nautical miles from Oregon's coast where wind speeds are some of the world's strongest. The levelized cost of energy (LCOE) for the hypothetical projects—600 megawatts each, outfitted with 15-megawatt turbines, and developed by 2032—ranged from $74 per megawatt-hour in the north to $53 per megawatt-hour in the south, near the California border.

The study builds off a similar NREL study published in 2016, which estimated the LCOE for floating offshore wind in CaliforniaPDF at $100 per megawatt-hour or less by 2030.

"The Oregon study reflects lower LCOE than the 2016 California study because of new cost and technology data that support lower capital and operational expenditures than were previously modeled," said Walt Musial, NREL's lead offshore wind researcher and one of the authors of both studies. "These results mean that the market for floating offshore wind is growing rapidly and verify the assumptions we've made about floating offshore wind costs decreasing. This should encourage developers that the technology is driving in the right direction."

Floating wind energy technologies will be required to tap Oregon's 62 gigawatts of available offshore wind energy resource—97% of which is in waters deeper than 60 meters.

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