Photo ©: Block Wind Farm


By Jessica Parineet

Offshore wind development is in its early stages in the United States, with just under one gigawatt (GW) of utility scale capacity constructed[1][2]. State decarbonization goals have catalyzed industry progress thus far, however the Biden administration has increased federal support, including a national goal to deploy 30 GW by 2030[3][4]. The Inflation Reduction Act passed in 2022 is the first federal legislation subsidizing offshore wind, primarily through an investment tax credit that covers up to 40% of costs[5][6]. Analysis of the offshore wind landscape in the United States can provide useful context for decisionmakers as New Jersey pursues its goal of 11,000 megawatts (MW) by 2040[7].

  • High construction costs are creating significant challenges.

Developers are facing significantly higher costs of capital and construction inputs than anticipated due to Covid-19 related inflation and supply chain issues. Citing financial constraints, developers cancelled projects in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, and New Jersey in the past year[8][9]. Regulators in New York recently finalized a contract renegotiation for two projects to avoid similar cancellations, which will result in higher electricity costs for ratepayers. Three other approved projects in the state, however, are no longer moving forward as the manufacturer overpromised on its ability to deliver high efficiency turbines, resulting in cost increases[10]. To achieve economies of scale, New England, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut have entered a joint procurement agreement for 6,000 MW[11]. Though states are attempting to adapt to this high-cost environment, additional federal support may be needed to ensure existing projects are implemented successfully.

  • Securing community support is complex and will require ongoing study.

Beyond financial constraints, offshore wind has a history of public opposition in the United States. The nation’s first offshore wind farm, proposed in 2001 in Massachusetts, faced numerous lawsuits which contributed to the project’s cancellation[12]. A demonstration scale farm began operating in 2016 off the coast of Block Island, Rhode Island, which was uniquely suitable for offshore wind given the preexisting energy infrastructure was unreliable and expensive[13]. Subsequent research provides useful insights into public perception of offshore wind after construction. Surveys reveal the importance of understanding underlying beliefs about the ocean, as these beliefs can significantly influence support or opposition to offshore wind among residents and stakeholders like recreational fishers. Efforts to encourage participation in the planning process, which is the primary method of engaging the public, must be inclusive of a wide range of beliefs and concerns about development[14][15]. Though the public participation process is often politicized, institutions have a duty to value public opinion and be considerate of diverse viewpoints[16].

  • Massive potential has yet to be reached in the United States

With new lease areas from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) now extending beyond the Northeast to the Gulf and West Coast states, there are key opportunities for states to collaborate and identify areas where increased federal support is required[17]. For recent leases in California, BOEM has included up to 30% in credits to incentivize workforce development and community benefit agreements, indicating a national commitment to incentivize domestic supply chain development, bring down costs, and be inclusive of the communities’ diverse needs and concerns[18]. While New Jersey faces challenges much like other states, ongoing progress of three wind farms is promising, and decision-makers have the opportunity to strategically foster inclusive and financially viable projects could serve as a model for the fledgling industry.

Jessica Parineet is a Research Assistant with the New Jersey State Policy Lab and a graduate student in the Master of Public Policy program at the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy. 



[1] Governor Hochul announces completion of South Fork Wind, first Utility-Scale offshore wind farm in the United States. (2024, March 14).

[2] Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs. (2024, February 22). Vineyard Wind, America’s First Large-Scale Offshore Wind Farm, Delivers Full Power from 5 Turbines to the New England Grid.

[3] FACT SHEET: Biden administration jumpstarts offshore wind energy projects to create jobs. (2021, March 29). The White House.

[4] FACT SHEET: Biden-Harris administration continues to advance American offshore wind opportunities. (2023, March 29). The White House.

[5] Comay, L. B., Clark, C. E., & Sherlock, M. F. (2022). Offshore Wind Provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act. Congressional Research Service.

[6] Treasury releases additional guidance to drive investment to energy communities as part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda. (2024, April 26). U.S. Department of The Treasury.


[8] New England states join to buy offshore wind power as US industry struggles. (2023, October 4). Reuters.

[9] Kurtz, J. (2024, January 26). Maryland offshore wind developer pulls out of state agreement, seeks new financial support. Rhode Island Current.

[10] Major offshore wind projects in New York canceled in latest blow to industry. (2024, April 19). POLITICO.


[12] Marinakos, M. W. (2012). A Mighty Wind: The Turbulent Times of America’s First Offshore Wind Farm and the Inverse of Environmental Justice. Environmental and Earth Law Journal, 2(1), 82–117.

[13] Russell, A., Bingaman, S., & Garcia, H.-M. (2021). Threading a moving needle: The spatial dimensions characterizing US offshore wind policy drivers. Energy Policy, 157, 112516.

[14] Bidwell, D. (2017). Ocean beliefs and support for an offshore wind energy project. Ocean & Coastal Management, 146, 99–108.

[15] Bidwell, D., Smythe, T., & Tyler, G. (2023). Anglers’ support for an offshore wind farm: Fishing effects or clean energy symbolism. Marine Policy, 151, 105568.

[16] Russell, A., & Firestone, J. (2022). More than a feeling: Analyzing community cognitive and affective perceptions of the Block Island offshore wind project. Renewable Energy, 193, 214–224.

[17] Offshore Renewable Activities | Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. (n.d.).

[18] Hoff, K., & Bedsworth, L. (2024). OFFSHORE WIND & Community Benefits Agreements IN CALIFORNIA CBA Examples. Berkeley Law | The Center for Law, Energy & the Environment.