University of Delaware (UD) researchers Sara Parkison and Willett Kempton have published an article in the journal Energy Policy that points to an issue they say could prevent the US from meeting its clean energy commitments. Their study found that America lacks sufficient marshalling ports – sites where wind turbines could be assembled, housed and deployed – to support projected growth in the industry.
“This study is not an off-the-cuff estimate,” said Parkison. “It is a detailed analysis informed by insights from industry experts, including vessel operators, port operators, developers and people who have been doing this for 20 to 30 years. And it shows that the industry is facing a real bottleneck.
“Stated simply, the amount of marshalling area that we have is too little and the amount that is planned will not be enough, creating a significant shortfall that will have ramifications on the growth of the offshore wind industry.”
According to the study, the existing and planned US marshalling ports will likely provide less than half of the space that will be needed in the next 30 years.
The lack of sufficient space will lead to project delays, say the authors, that will have negative impacts on subsequent project schedules and efforts to mitigate climate change.
Claire Richer, director of Offshore Wind with the American Clean Power Association, said the report “demonstrates the need for a substantially resourced port infrastructure development plan in a budget reconciliation bill such as Build Back Better.”