Status of U.S. Offshore Wind Development

Offshore wind turbineAlong the Atlantic coast, offshore wind presents one of our best opportunities to generate significant amounts of energy without creating harmful pollution. Recognizing the economic and environmental benefits of offshore wind, every state with significant wind resources offshore has taken some steps forward to harness this local clean energy source, in partnership with the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM).

Because the vast majority of our offshore wind energy resources are in federal waters, BOEM is the agency responsible for granting permits for offshore wind projects. In November 2010, Secretary Salazar announced the “Smart from the Start” initiative to improve the permitting process and facilitate the rapid, responsible development of offshore wind energy on the Outer Continental Shelf.

The offshore wind permitting process is actively underway in the states of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, and North Carolina. Five leases have been issued through competitive auctions, off the coasts of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Maryland, and Virginia, the critical first step toward significant build-out of our offshore wind energy resources.

National Wildlife Federation supports the development of offshore wind energy that is sited, constructed, and operated in a manner that is protective of our coastal and marine wildlife.  Our regional advocates are closely tracking BOEM’s Smart from the Start permitting process and working to build support for appropriately sited projects.

Learn more about our offshore wind power campaign at