Offshore U.S. wind projects get their first set of development standards

The U.S. offshore wind industry has the first set of standards for project development— a step advocates say will accelerate the growth of the burgeoning renewable energy sector.

The standards cover the design, manufacturing, installation, commissioning, operation and service, decommissioning, and re-powering of an offshore wind farm.

Developers can use the standards to streamline projects in state and federal waters of the mainland U.S., Alaska, and Hawaii, as well as bodies of water such as the Great Lakes.

The five-year process to establish standards for the offshore wind industry was supported by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the Energy Department, the Business Network for Offshore Wind, the American Clean Power Association, and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

In June, the standards were approved by the ANSI Board of Standards Review, the lead organization that oversees the nation’s standards and conformity assessment activities.

NREL offshore wind research lead Walt Musial, who chaired the ACP Offshore Wind Subcommittee, said the standards could speed up the regulatory process and improve worker safety.

“OCRP-1-2022 establishes a strong precedent for U.S. industry cooperation that I sincerely believe will help accelerate the U.S. offshore wind energy industry and our nation’s push to decarbonize energy use,” Musial said.

He said the standards provide regulators with a “cradle to grave” guideline for all stages of offshore wind project development.

The guidance is designed to adhere to a preestablished ANSI/ACP consensus standards development process, which includes participation by stakeholders, opportunity for public review and commentary, resolution for filed comments, and acceptance through voting by the governing ACP Technical Wind Standards Committee and the ANSI Board of Standards Review.

Because of that, OCRP-1-2022 can be recognized by regulators and referenced within the U.S. regulatory approval process.

The U.S. Offshore Wind Standards Initiative is working on four additional guidance documents to address:

  • Floating offshore wind energy
  • Meteorological and oceanographic data requirements
  • Geotechnical and geophysical requirements for offshore wind energy technologies
  • Minimum requirements for submarine cables. 

These documents are intended to offer a comprehensive set of consensus-based guidelines under ANSI/ACP rules that navigates existing offshore wind energy industry standards and guidelines.

Combined, the five guidance documents are intended to facilitate safe designs and the orderly deployment of U.S. offshore wind energy by accounting for unique geophysical, administrative, and environmental constraints.

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Author: John Engel

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