Wind energy is a growing sector in the United States despite the lack of offshore wind energy development. In total, the country has approximately 35.6 gigawatts of electricity generated through wind turbines throughout the country. However, absolutely none of this energy is in the form of offshore wind and the great majority lies in Western states.
However, the newest lease signed by the government to officially give Cape Wind in Massachusetts the go-ahead may be the beginning of the United States’ offshore wind industry. Thus far, there are at least twelve different wind farms proposed for along the Eastern seaboard of the country. These wind farms would go a long way in generating renewable energy for the East Coast which would not have room for massive onshore wind farms otherwise.
According to Oceana, offshore wind farms could generate about 127 gigawatts of energy along the East Coast. This is enough energy to provide half of the East Coast’s electricity demands. However, a major obstacle in advancing the offshore wind sector on the East Coast is the connection to the grid from offshore. The solution to the problem is a massive underwater cable running alongside a major portion of the East Coast.
The electric cable, which would be approximately 350 miles in length, would stretch from New Jersey to Virginia. It would be installed about 15 to 20 mils from shore and could transmit approximately 6 gigawatts of energy. However, the massive cable comes with an equally massive price tag. The expected price of such a project would run to at least $5 billion.
But, Google Inc. has recently announced their involvement in the project, leading many to believe the project may now actually push ahead. Google Inc. is said to be joining Good Energies and a Japanese company Marubeni Corp in contributing to the cost of the cable. Google is said to be investing approximately one-third of the cost of the project. The actual cable project would be led by the Trans-Elect company.