Windy and Shallow The yellow areas have winds over 7.5 m/s and depths under 21 m. (The green and red are windy areas on land,
a much smaller aggregate energy potential than offshore.) Two projects are currently being planned in the
New England offshore areas, Cape Wind's in Nantucket Sound (south of Cape Cod, MA) and LIPA's south of Long Island (off Fire Island). As this map
suggests, these locations are sensible with current technology and economics, based on an analysis of just wind speed and depth (other
factors have to be considered as well but are not shown here). How big is this currently-exploitable resource? The Cape Wind
project covers 62 sq km and will satisfy 10% of the electricity needs of the entire state of
Massachusetts. For scale, that project is exactly half the area of Nantucket Island, the crescent-shaped island to the SE of Cape Cod.
Note that two more Nantucket Island sized areas could easily fit the yellow area to the south of this island, theoretically providing
half the electricity of the whole state of Massachusetts, an area over 80 times larger (MA=27,000 km², Cape Wind*5=310 km²).
Is the U.S. East Coast anomolously wealthy in offshore wind potential?
See our parallel but less detailed analysis of the distribution of global wind speeds and depth.
Return to first map, wind speed. |
Introduction for these maps, with figure citation. |
Global offshore winds |
CEOE offshore wind power home
Copyright © 2005 University of Delaware College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment