The offshore wind energy resource in the United States is abundant and has the potential to become a significant contributor to the electric energy portfolio within the next decade(s). Offshore wind is stronger and more consistent than land-based wind, and excellent wind resources can be found close to electric load centers on the coasts (and in the Great Lakes). Recent large-scale offshore wind farm developments in Northern Europe have demonstrated faster-than-expected energy cost reductions, rapidly closing the gap to conventional generation methods and land-based wind.
It remains challenging to deploy and operate energy infrastructure in an ocean environment. Almost all of the offshore farms installed to date used rigidly bottom-mounted turbines. These technologies have reached a comparatively higher degree of technological maturity, although many research needs remain. In deeper waters, for example in the Gulf of Maine and on the West coast, floating wind turbines will need to be used. The technological maturity for these systems is comparatively lower, and many challenges and research needs exist.
The University of New Hampshire has significant expertise in many areas relevant to offshore wind: ocean engineering, ocean sciences, ocean mapping, marine biology, marine geology, marine policy, and more. UNH also has the physical infrastructure to conduct studies related to offshore wind: Chase Ocean Engineering Lab with wave/tow and engineering tanks, the Judd Gregg Marine Research Complex with support facilities and the UNH Pier, research vessels, etc.